Postmodernism has questioned the concept of being adequate, thus softening the definition of the norm, seen as a stereotype prevailing in the society. Nowadays, being abnormal becomes exciting and titillating. Evgenia Makarova is trying to unpack the issues of normality in her work. The artist addresses the influence of emotions on human consciousness and behavior and analyzes the concept of the norm through various media (painting, sculpture, video art) and experiments with materials.
In her work, Makarova emphasizes expressive colours and peculiar choice of materials (fabric, plastic, acrylic and silicone). A variety of colour spots flare up, fade away, and merge with the frozen mass of porous rough plastic. All these tricks are used by the artist to reflect challenging conditions faced by a person: depression, anxiety or rage. As a result, Makarova’s works reveal the aesthetics of the imperfect, wrong and ugly in abnormal.
The artist’s concept is best illustrated by the Abnormal project (2021-2022), which a reflection on the mental norm and its standards. These seven small works featured by contrasting colour splashes and fascinating combination of materials are somber and disturbing. Acrylic smudges, spread over wet fabric, refer to Rorschach spots, one of the tests used to study the psyche and its disorders. The black colour becomes a symbol of darkness and the unknown, and fear turns into a sticky dark plastic mass. Skillfully combining translucent texture of linen fabric with the rough surface of plastic, the artist expands the boundaries of painting and reveals a fine line between the rational and the emotional.
In her other project called Me, Evgenia Makarova continues to layer undiluted paint on fabric and creates a series of square wall objects referring to identity and spiritual metamorphoses when a person sees him/herself as someone else, an animal or even inanimate subject. Small artworks look like living creatures similar to each other, and produce macabre feeling. Playing with their materiality and the illusion of what they appear to be, these metamorphic objects are endowed with sharp spikes that represent protection from a hostile world.
The visual language of Evgenia Makarova is characterized by minimalism and at the same time sufficiency. The artworks look both improvisational and whole, shape the illusionary feeling and seem to draw you into their world. The artist’s idea is oscillating between sense and sensibility, abstract concept and material weight of a handwork. The projects of Makarova demonstrate perverse but enchanting beauty of the gloomy, unpredictable and unseen, being like a fragment of a small personal catastrophe, and remind that there is something sadly malignant in the nature of our world.
Curator, art critic
Co-founder of fābula gallery