Maria Petrova brings a new series of drawings to fortyfivedownstairs in June 2018 exploring concepts of dysfunctional attachment, heredity, trauma and healing. Constant Companions opens at fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne, on Tuesday 5 June 2018, with the exhibition launch from 5pm – 7pm on Thursday 7 June.
If your first thought is: that’s a reference to Kafka’s Metamorphosis when you see the works in this exhibition, then you’d be wrong. Instead, their theme alludes to a common Russian expression referring to “cockroaches in the head”, uttered upon encountering self-destructive or damaging behaviours. Often, the person handing down this diagnosis will note, sadly, that “we all have our own cockroaches”, to show empathy and to acknowledge the universal challenges of the human condition.
Through this visual metaphor, Constant Companions explores concepts of dysfunctional attachment, heredity, trauma and healing; both in relation to the artist and her family, and as a unifying thread running through humanity.
While the metaphor of cockroaches as pervasive negative emotions and beliefs is crude, it is also apt. Unwelcome vermin inside the head, spreading filth and feeding off it, thriving and multiplying – and nearly impossible to exterminate. Whether a single persistent cockroach or an infestation, their presence is not immediately obvious in daylight – much like the dark aspects of our personalities that are kept hidden behind civil facades – but does not fail to reveal itself on closer inspection.
Maria Petrova is a Melbourne-based artist. Her work is concerned with the conflict between a subject’s internal narratives and their external manifestations. Using expressionistic line-making and realistic rendering, Petrova seeks to both capture the friction between these opposing realities and create a synthetic representation beyond them.
Petrova has recently exhibited in awards exhibitions including the Whyalla Art Prize, Agendo Emerging Artist Award and Wyndham Art Prize. She has also shown work at Off the Kerb Gallery and Campbelltown Arts Centre. Constant Companions will be her first solo exhibition at fortyfivedownstairs.