Alina Maksimenko creates dark spaces. Her hauntingly powerful figurative paintings encapsulate graceful female studies through exquisite observation. Moody and thoughtful, Maksimenko’s women often present themselves to the viewer with their backs turned or in silhouette with the slightest hint of tonal shift to indicate a limb or turn of the head. These large, elegant works dominate the walls on which they sit, their striking presence complimented with a bold contrast between the soft richness of oil paint and the occasional sharp edge of stencilled colour. Maksimenko takes a wonderfully inquisitive approach to her work, utilising wax, oil paint, fabric, stitched thread and stocking fragment to communicate her notions of identity, control and transformation.
In one of Maksimenko’s recent series of works, Cherry Garden (2014), she uses the idea of the garden as a setting for contemplation and refuge. Lonesome shadowed figures sit in floral alcoves, blending into their surroundings whilst focusing on a deep inner-space. The garden is a segment of the natural world – it is controlled, maintained and ordered. It is an area of sanctuary and in the case of Alina Maksimenko a space for self-discovery. The Cherry Garden works provoke ideas about the ephemerality of time, the fragility of life and the loss of childhood innocence. They also speak of growth. In Maksimenko’s Vegetable Garden series (2015), human forms are drafted from studies of vegetables. Such ideas of organic growth run throughout Maksimenko’s practice, referring to the human form as one that has come from the earth.
Maksimenko has exhibited extensively across the Ukraine, as well as Russia and throughout Europe. Her work is included in the Museum of History of Kiev, Ukraine, the Museum of Modern Art, Ukraine and the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture. She also has work in private international collections across the globe. Maksimenko recently completed a residency in Paris, where a number of the paintings for her solo exhibition with us were created.