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Sadness is But a Wall Between Two Gardens

Maria Andrievskaya, Rosanna Dean, Chrysa Kanari, Erna Mist, Orsola Zane

1 December, 2023 – 20 January, 2024

In a poignant exploration of contemporary global challenges, artists Maria Andrievskaya, Rosanna Dean, Chrysa Kanari, Erna Mist, and Orsola Zane converge in an evocative exhibition. Through the paintings, each artist confronts the metaphorical wall of sorrow that divides our shared humanity.
Sadness is But a Wall Between Two Gardens" invites viewers to contemplate, connect, and collectively transcend these barriers.

Chrysa Kanari explores the aesthetics of human atrocity through her work, drawing from archival and media imagery that exposes the dark aspects of the human condition. Rooted in her country's turbulent history, marked by colonization and conflict, Kanari aims to create a 'New History painting' that conveys shared collective pain. Her artistic mission involves resurrecting hidden images, shifting the focus from the lens of the colonizer to the subject's pain. Through unconventional use of colour, dramatic lighting, and dynamic brushwork, she seeks to convey the depth of human emotion. In her painting "Bloody Christmas (2023)," viewers confront uncomfortable proximity to tragic figures, challenging passivity and voyeuristic tendencies.

Rosanna Dean intertwines spirituality and contemporary art. As an artist associate at Oxford University's Centre for Hindu Studies, she collaborates globally on Shaktism exploration. Dean, influenced by Old Master painting and recent research in India on Tantra and rituals like Theyyam, delves into Sanskrit, yoga, and sound healing. Her work challenges representations of the divine, merging diverse practices from East to West. Focused on beauty and repulsion, her canvases depict decontextualized, anonymous figures, prompting a discourse on shared fears and experiences. Dean's recent works incorporate multi-layered references to history painting and century old techniques, to destabilise the idea of history as destiny and instead, creates a space for the viewer to contemplate the possibilities of a different way.

Maria Andrievskaya employs magical realism in a monochromatic painting to convey a nuanced exploration of hope, grief, and empathy. Her work depicts an insect-sized female character navigating ecosystem in turmoil, symbolizing the interconnectedness of humanity and nature. Illuminated by an eerie dawn-like glow, these scenes teeter on the precipice of change and healing. Through compassionate rituals and resource foraging, the characters coexist with a deteriorating environment. Andrievskaya challenges viewers to reflect on their scale and impact, urging introspection and action in the face of impending ecological challenges, creating a compelling narrative of empathy for our planet and its inhabitants.

Erna Mist views painting as a profound tool for navigating the intricacies of the human mind. Her art, a delicate balance between defying natural constraints and acknowledging the weight of reality, serves as an insightful X- ray into the depths of human experience. In her evocative piece, "Melancholy," Mist captures a solitary figure within an abandoned construction, engaged in the symbolic act of severing her wings with scissors while perched on a blue chair. Beneath her, a staircase unfolds into an abyss of darkness—a labyrinthine metaphor leading nowhere but into its own perpetual existence. Mist's composition invites contemplation of the profound interplay between emotion and the enigmatic journey through the corridors of the psyche.

"In 'Insidious Feeling,' Orsola Zane explores suspicion as an inherent aspect of human interaction, drawing parallels to the scientific method and Hegelian dialectic. The work delves into the necessity of questioning and negation in these processes, emphasizing the challenge of confirming the truth in complex human relationships. The painting captures the tension between perceived reality and an elusive undercurrent of suspicion, highlighting the impossibility of fully understanding others' thoughts and feelings. The term 'suspicion,' rooted in 'sub spicere' (to look underneath), underscores the perpetual state of uncertainty, leaving individuals stuck in a perpetual negation phase with no clear resolution in human connections."

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