November 12, 2021 - December 31, 2021
HELDENREIZER Contemporary is pleased to present Against Nature, an exhibition of new works by Andreana Dobreva. Along large-scale oil paintings, the artist presents for the first time a series of miniatures on paper. This presentation marks the artist’s second solo show at HELDENREIZER Contemporary since joining the gallery for its inaugural group exhibition in 2018.
Against Nature is centered around the fundamental duality of the two opposing poles of figuration and abstraction that are inherent in Dobreva’s artistic practice. The constant fluctuation between those two poles or powers sets Andreana Dobreva works into continual tension. The observer will naturally receive the feeling that the artist has endowed her pictures with no final concluding brush stroke, but that her dramatic and gestural brushwork remains ambiguous, continually in motion, and is not willing to settle down.
The foundation of Dobreva’s practice is her contemporary reinterpretation of Old Masters and Rococo paintings of the 17th and 18th century. She pics actual existing paintings as starting point, which she then fully transforms on the canvas through her own abstract painterly language. These underlaying historical sources – providing the paintings with figurative aspects – form part of the aforementioned dualism, on the other side of which stands abstraction. Even though the former Rococo source, which the artist has been exploring and looking at, is nearly indecipherable, and human figures or parts of fruit still lifes shine through merely visibly as silhouettes, they stabilize the flow of the eye on the canvas for a brief moment. For instance, in Dobreva’s small-scale works on paper of female Rococo portraits on view at Against Nature, the visible facial features, such as eyes, nose or cheeks of the depicted provide a moment of pause, a counterbalance to the abstract parts.
The other pole – the contemporary abstracted brush strokes – destabilizes the composition and sets things again in motion. Shapes disintegrate, forms pour into forms, flowing in, out and into one another. The artist’s pictures become pure essence of paint. But also in this fluid state, when the abstraction and the total alienation of the historical source has reached its peak, the Rococo quality does not fully reside but remains palpable in Dobreva’s paintings: The theatrical settings, the dramatic sources of light, the choices of colour and the exuberant brushwork all speak the lush, ornate language and plasticity of the Rococo despite their contemporary appearance. When the viewer looks at the brush strokes breaking up the components of the underlying Late Baroque paintings then he or she will notice that they form lush and dramatic curves and counter curves, which again resemble ornamental shapes that are reminiscent of the stylistic means from the Rococo period. The lively features of the Rococo, with its theatrical, exuberant and ornamental style, lend themselves perfectly to Dobreva's artistic practice and provide her with the means to work in a malleable and playful manner.
In Andreana Dobreva’s most recent large-scale oil paintings displayed at Against Nature a new element receives the opportunity to manifest itself and to come further into the foreground: The element of chance when the artist decides to withdraw from the active process. In Animal Therapy (2021) and About The Chickens's Death (2021) for instance, paint drippings are a defining compositional element. The artist retreats, gives up her control and permits the paint in specific parts of the picture to flow, allowing the drippings to take over the creative process for a moment.
Andreana Dobreva was born in Siven, Bulgaria in 1982 and works and lives in London. At the age of fourteen she begun a five year in-depths technical training in icon painting. She moved to Germany to study Science and Psychology in Munich in 2008. Subsequently, Dobreva enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich to study with Professor Anke Doberauer and Professor Florian Pumhösl and received her diploma in 2019.
November 12, 2021 - December 31, 2021
Türkenstr. 32, 80335 Munich