Solo exhibition of Katarina Avotina
HeadSpace (Egg Cafe), Liverpool
3rd – 16th March 2017
Reviewed by Samera Thalen
Image above: Katrina Avotina, ‘Just a Friendly Chat,’ 2016
The bright colours of the paintings by Katrina Avotina shine on the walls of the Egg Café. People are chatting and enjoying their vegan and vegetarian meals while having the comfort around them of these bright and playful pictures.
HeadSpace, which is based in the cafe, is an independent art and photo gallery and there is a new exhibition on display every few weeks. A Glimpse of Sunshine will be on display until the 16th of March, so, if you have time, this exhibition is worth a visit.
The works consistently comprise bright landscapes and cityscapes, with one or two exceptions. I have never seen so many bright neon colours in a painting, but I must say they work really well on the cafe walls. The city, dream and landscapes tell a story. There is a black cat that keeps showing up in the paintings, and who is the woman with the big black hair?
In The work Just a Friendly Chat, 2016, you see two clergies having a conversation and it doesn’t look like an easy and friendly chat. There is a woman depicted in the painting that looks right at the viewer with a friendly smile. I feel like a voyeur, but it doesn’t feel uneasy. I want to smile back at her. I am wondering what she is up to and if I see her in another painting soon, I want to finish the story and find out who she is.
There is a level of suspense in some of her works, like in What Happened in ‘Runswick Place’?, 2015 also in And What’s Behind the Corner?, 2016. I want to walk that street and turn around the corner, to a new adventure, something sunny, something bright and happy.
The works remind me of a painting by Giorgio de Chirico, Mystery and Melancholy of a Street, 1914. This surrealist painting has the same suspense, but in a dark and eerie way. De Chirco’s streets feel dangerous and there are haunting shadows in the cityscape he painted.
Avotina’s paintings have a way of making me feel warm and think about the good in life, as a welcome break from the harshness of reality. I think this is exactly what the artist wanted me to experience.