Artist Statement

I am interested in landscape painting and how it frames our relationship to places, evoking feelings from belonging to estrangement and everything in between. I look at landscape as a network of cultural codes and collective identity. As a bilingual artist who grew up in Bulgaria, I utilize the Western landscape genre, but substitute its subject matter for places I relate to. Instead of panoramas of nature, I work with images that reference block housing, playgrounds and public squares.  Now that I no longer live in Eastern Europe, I see these spaces as both mundane and yet strangely foreign.

         My process begins with the collecting, editing and cutting of various images, both found and autobiographical. These fragments are then assembled, enlarged and layered together with fabric to construct dioramas. Each set functions as a still life in my studio. The diorama becomes like a personal artifact, which I can study through painting. I use lights to choreograph the shadows and emphasize the theatricality of each set. Through painting I am able to translate physical edges into shapes that make a homogenous surface. The final painted image reads as both coherent and disjointed; the parts belong together and yet imply multiple viewpoints and histories.