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on big and small battles

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How many artists: 
2

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Price Range: 
$500 to
$5000

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Date: 
Wednesday, 2 August 2023 to Sunday, 27 August 2023
Opening: 
Thursday, 3 August 2023 - 6:00pm

Curated by Anna Nesterenko, a joint exhibition of artists Margarita Godgelf and Jess de Zilva entitled on big and small battles will be on display at the Curious Kudu Gallery from 2nd-27th August 2023, showcasing two artistic approaches that explore the complex nature of human existence through the medium of oil painting.

While both artists work primarily with oil on canvas to depict human figures, their approaches are distinct yet complementary. In her series ‘The Rite of Spring’ de Zilva presents a collection that speaks of recalibration. The paintings express a desire and force to create harmony and the need for hope. ‘Spring’ is symbolised in the colour yellow, as a daffodil and used as a metaphor for a fresh start. De Zilva’s painted female figures are testing unknown waters and reaching into hazy dreamlike spaces, balancing awkwardly, and even trying to blend in among penguins. While some are gentle, careful and considered others are more actively engaged. With clenched fists they are battle-ready. There’s a knife camouflaged among the greenery. Perhaps this cause for harmony requires a different kind of energy too?

«The world has changed so quickly. Serious items have snuck their way into our lives. They have managed to grow like rot that starts behind the shed, and spreads underground unnoticed and unattended until it’s already reached the foundations of the house you live in. I know this sounds grim. Yet, we need to hope and try and put in the effort. That’s what these works are about.»

Margarita Godgelf’s project "Nothing Personal" features faceless characters that act as conduits to explore the depths of the human psyche. Her paintings intentionally shift the focus from physicality and gender differences, erasing age-old conventions and clichés imposed on behaviour. Margarita creates a kind of secret room filled with images and revelations. This space is devoid of geographical coordinates and often exists outside of time, lying on the boundary between the real and metaphysical worlds.

«Speaking about the universal, I talk about loneliness, infantilism, anxiety and dependence on society, creating the desire to close down and simultaneously declare oneself, prompting one to broadcast the alter ego. By using familiar visual cues such as stickers and selfie gestures, we endeavour to conform to societal expectations.

My faceless characters serve as conduits, through which we descend into the recesses of our beings and encounter our authentic selves. This juncture of self-revelation may prove exceedingly painful, yet unfailingly yields salutary insights.

While Margarita's work evokes stillness, contemplation, and introspection, Jess' art represents dynamics, hope, and the search for a path. Although they might seem contradictory, they are, in fact, two consecutive steps of the same thought process inherent to human history.

The pandemic has had a profound impact on both artists. For Margarita, the forced self-isolation served as a creative impulse to continue her project "Nothing Personal," initially conceived as a feminist endeavour. People wearing protective masks reminded her of the veiled characters she had painted since 2005. As people sought support from society and turned to social media, personal boundaries blurred, and the hidden depths of the subconscious were exposed.

In contrast, de Zilva highlighted the emotional chaos and confusion brought on by the pandemic. In her thought-provoking allegories, she combined the figure’s poses and expressions with backdrops, symbolic and familiar pandemic-related objects.

Both artists chose realistic painting as their preferred medium to tackle artistic challenges. Their art invites the viewer to engage with universal themes and experiences that are relatable to us all. Don't miss this unique opportunity to view their works displayed side-by-side.

The opening reception for the exhibition will take place on August 3rd from 6-9pm, and both artists will be present to discuss their work. Admission is free, and all are welcome to attend. The exhibition runs from August 2nd to 27th at the Curious Kudu Gallery,117 Queen's Rd, London SE15 2EZ.

Curator :

Artist ( Description ): 

Jess de Zilva is a London-based painter of psychological allegories. She studied Fine Art at
Camberwell College of Arts in 2001 and later in 2015, focused on portrait painting at the
Sarum Studio, Atelier of Fine Art, in Salisbury under the tutelage of Nicholas Beer. De Zilva’s
studio is located in North London.

Margarita Godgelf is an artist recently moved to the UK.
She was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, studied in Russia, at the Moscow Academic Art School
and the Institute of Contemporary Art and lived in Israel.
Her works are included in the Kolodzei Art Foundation (USA), MORA - Art Museum (USA),
as well as various private collections.

Venue ( Address ): 

Curious Kudu Gallery,117 Queen's Rd, London SE15 2EZ

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on big and small battles
08/02/2023 to 08/27/2023

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