Natasha Khabarova’s art is a bright phenomenon in the contemporary Russian art discourse. Her artworks are well-known in Saint-Petersburg, yet, in the capital, it is her first solo exhibition.
Natasha Khabarova was born in Latvia but currently lives and works in Saint-Petersburg. Since 2013, the artist participates in exhibitions, including as a part of the North-7 collective. Years of the creative journey and searches for her personal style were quite extensive: Saint-Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design first, later — Novosibirsk State Academy of Architecture and Fine Arts, where she studied monumental and decorative arts.
Back in Petersburg, Khabarova starts her career as a portrait artist but later switches to working with nude figures. Today, her art falls either into figurative or subjective works, united by a dark and smoothed palette.
Khabarova’s otherness, when compared to the Petersburg artistry school, is visible in her breakthrough in the choice of the nude form and the interpretation of the matter. Her works are fundamentally non-metaphorical and do not seek to awaken associativity in the viewer. They are distant from everyday life; “that stage scenery masked by habit becomes again what it is”. Khabarova paints without scenery; she refuses to use narrative and references.
“I need the body separately from the human lying within the said body for three-four hours. My themes are not more complex than making the body lie comfortably, so it doesn’t run, doesn’t argue, doesn’t become loud and bold,” — the artist says. Even the cat here is just a dark clot in a dusky interior, yet its uncertainty brings anxiety.
There’s always a particular juxtaposition of external amorphousness, generalization of forms, and their colouristic density in Khabarova’s paintings. It appears to be an internal struggle between shape and colour, where the colours destroy linearity and the ability to “read” the surface of the texture via subversive action. This game of contradictions, creation, and destruction defines the magical reality of art, which Khabarova is approaching by using colour against the form.