New York Times: Vera Iliatova: ‘For Now, at Once’

By Ken Johnson

In her dreamy paintings of girls in verdant landscapes, Vera Iliatova toys with conventional associations of nature, femininity, childhood and innocence. The foregrounds of her pictures are occupied by lush, colorful floral bouquets; forests, meadows, hills and dales fill the backgrounds. Ms. Iliatova paints these with a deft, brushy touch that gives the surfaces of her canvases a sensuously tactile presence.


The diminutive figures of adolescent girls that Ms. Iliatova inserts into these environments look almost as if they’d been cut from magazines and pasted in. With few if any signs of civilization in view, you get the feeling they’ve escaped not only from parental supervision and the rules of their community but from modernity in general and the mess made of the world by the Industrial Revolution. They call to mind Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls on the run from the evil Glandelinians and Justine Kurland’s photographs of girls in wilderness settings.


It’s a short step to see Ms. Iliatova’s heroines’ escape into the bosom of Mother Nature as a romantic protest against the dominion of patriarchal consciousness. Insofar as the artist herself identifies with her girls, they may be said to personify the life and freedom of art and imagination. This gives Ms. Iliatova’s paintings a touching personal urgency. She’s projecting her own sense of what it takes to be an artist in the modern world: You have to be some kind of outlaw.


Read full article here:

March 19, 2015