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(Sun Valley, Idaho—July 2020) Gilman Contemporary presents Maria Svarbova-Yesterday’s Future. The exhibition will feature photographs from Slovakian artist Maria Svarbova’s Swimmming Pool series and will include work from the more recent Lost in the Valley. On view June 15- July 30.
Renowned for her Swimming Pool series, which launched in 2014 and continued through 2018, Svarbova’s aesthetic has become instantly recognizable. Her style departs from traditional portraiture and focuses on experimentation with space, color, and atmosphere. Taking an interest in Socialist era architecture and public spaces, Maria transforms each scene with a modern freshness that highlights the depth and range of her creative palette.
Moving beyond the swimming pool, Svarbova continued to apply her signature style to other locales. She released Lost in the Valley in 2018 where carefully composed figures continue to create thematic, dream-like scenes, but this time in Death Valley. Regardless of the location, each image holds a silent tension that is modern and fresh.
In 2018 Svarbova was recognized as a Hasselblad Master. Her work has been featured in publications ranging from CNN and The Guardian to Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.
Svarbova has published two books, Futuro Retro 2019 and Swimming Pool 2016, now on its second printing.
Maria Svarbova was born in 1988; she currently lives in Slovakia. Despite studying restoration and archeology, her preferred artistic medium is photography. From 2010 to the present, the immediacy of Maria’s photographic instinct continues to garner international acclaim and is setting new precedents in photographic expression. The recipient of several prestigious awards, her solo and group exhibitions have placed her among the vanguard of her contemporaries, attracting features in Vogue, Forbes, The Guardian, and publications around the world; her work is frequently in the limelight of social media. Maria’s reputation also earned her a commission for a billboard-sized promotion on the massive Taipei 101 tower, in Taiwan.
Maria’s distinctive style departs from traditional portraiture and focuses on experimentation with space, colour, and atmosphere. Taking an interest in Socialist era architecture and public spaces, Maria transforms each scene with a modern freshness that highlights the depth and range of her creative palette. The human body throughout her oeuvre is more or less a peripheral afterthought, often portrayed as aloof and demure rather than substantive. Carefully composed figures create thematic, dream-like scenes with ordinary objects. Her images hold a silent tension that hint at emergent possibilities under the lilt of clean and smooth surfaces.
There is often a sense of cool detachment and liminality in Maria’s work. Routine actions such as exercise, doctor appointments, and domestic tasks are reframed with a visual purity that is soothing and symmetrical and at times reverberant with an ethereal stillness. The overall effect evokes a contemplative silence in an extended moment of promise and awareness—a quality difficult to achieve in the rapid pace of modern life. Maria’s postmodern vision boldly articulates a dialog that compels the viewer to respond to the mystery, loneliness, and isolation of the human experience. Nevertheless, deeply embedded within the aqueous pastels, Maria’s compositions hold to a celebratory elegance that transforms the viewer’s gaze into an enduring reverence for life’s simple beauty.
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