Five questions to Marina Astakhova

Five questions to Marina Astakhova

Marina Astakhova is a multidisciplinary artist. A distinctive features of her creative method are vibrating abstract geometric ornaments based on the traditions of Russian avant-garde, op-art, orphism and post-painterly, hardedge abstraction. She lives and works in Moscow, Russia.

How did you get into art?

After years as a communications executive, I finally devoted myself to my art. I started to create in an improvisational way, exploring various techniques and media in the process. My formal training is in the visual arts. I get basics from British High School of Architecture and Design in contemporary art and ever since constantly learning from contemporary abstract environment.

How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?

I develop the theme of replicating everyday memory moments through repetitive patterns. In my works recognizable objects of nature are broken into elements and, through personal internal reassembly, appear in the form of an abstract ornament. My paintings have a slight optical effect, which create a feeling of movement and rhythm. This is most intriguing to my painting process, to keep the viewer rhythmically moving about my works. 

How do you go about developing your work?

The paintings and drawings I make are deeply rooted in the experience of what I call mosaic or kaleidoscope games, like Froebel's Gifts. This is the name of a series of the first educational toys created by the German teacher Friedrich Froebel for the early development of cognitive and research activities. Over the years, people have been fond of these games –among others - Kandinsky, Klee, Mondrian, Frank Lloyd Wright.

My favorite childhood set include mosaics and construction sets made of metal and plastic. No assembly instructions. This is a great way to develop imagination and thought. Now I construct my worlds on canvas, involving the logic of dynamic balance.

My works are structured according to process of matching shapes and colors in a mosaic manner. I start with a structure resembling a net, almost a technical drawing. Afrerwards, painting process involves little planning as colors appear randomly. 

Who or what influences you?

I go for inspirations to Frank Stella, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Daniel Buren to name a few – All creating the enormous universe of color and shape.

Make us curious. What are you planning to do next?

Now the lines are smoother, colors lighter, everything moves close to natural forms.  These experiments are resulted in a new series FIELDS. Observation of a rationally based agrarian technology of survival, the most productive use of each segment of the landscape, creates weightless abstract dynamic compositions as a metaphor of labor and life itself.

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