Van Gogh... with a touch of Russia

Whatever else you notice about Daria Blizhenskaya’s paintings, it’s the ‘confetti’ falling, no, raining its spirit of festivity and celebration across her work that’ll engage your eye the most. The locations in each canvas are different: if you spot the Eiffel Tower in one, you can well expect Montreal’s cathedrals in the next — but there’s no doubting the heavens have transformed into one big confetti-spouting machine in them all. Which isn’t too far from the truth because all Daria says she wants is to spread some cheer.

By Karen Ann Monsy

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Published: Fri 24 Dec 2010, 9:04 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:24 PM

“My main hope is that people will smile by looking at my works,” says the 30-year-old Russian-Canadian. “The emotion of joy and happiness is the gift I am trying to pass on to everyone.”

Having spent her formative years in Russia, the artist acknowledges the influence that growing up on [writers] Dostoevsky and Tolstoy continues to have on her work. “The history and traditional classic background of Russian art, society and literature influenced my first steps as an artist, where I started a discovery process to create my own individual artistic style, and the historical elegance of classic Czar-time Russia is reflected in my works.” This vibrant portrayal of culture in those times is, in fact, quite evident. “The elegance, sophistication and tenderness of Russian women in classic Russian Czar society are what I wanted to capture,” Daria explains. “The women in my paintings portray classic female characters from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or Turgenev’s times.”

Despite her roots, Daria’s strongest influences come from Dutch and Austrian painters Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt and she considers herself a “big admirer” of their works. She puts her ‘global settings’ down to good ol’ intuition, saying, “Most of the time I have an intuitional and emotional rise that takes me to certain places and certain settings in my imagination. In many cases, my works come to me in my dreams, where this unconscious vision then enables me to express the final piece in reality,” says the full-time artist, who started her formal artistic education at the tender age of nine years old. In fact, she adds, “I actually started drawing and painting on anything that came my way as soon as I learnt how to hold a pencil in my hand.”

“The main philosophy I am trying to express in my work is the reflection of universal connection of things among each other,” she continues. “I am trying to show the strong connection between every little detail in my painting. I believe there are no consequences in the circle of life. We are all connected. Meanwhile, the deeper aspect I hope for is that every visitor will reflect a connection between my painting and their unconscious personal inner self.”

“I want to express colour and the beauty of life in my paintings, so that ultimately they give happiness to the people who admire, buy and appreciate them,” says Daria. Considering the riot of colours that make up her Impressionist-style paintings, the positivity they exude is a little hard to ignore and you’ll find it difficult to walk away without feeling a lot lighter after a date with this ‘impressionista’ in the making.

For a feel of Daria Blizhenskaya’s festive works, head down to Art Lounge, Grand Hyatt. The show will be on till the end of January.

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