Bulgarian, Berlin-based painter Iva Milanova moves effortlessly between figurative portraits and abstract patterns which emphasize geometric forms, recurring shapes and shifting surfaces. Her portraits, which portray archetypal social types or religious subjects like the Madonna, have a discernible Cubist quality to their facial features, while also evoking the Expressionist paintings of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. A few of Milanova’s female figures approach a level of near-abstract deconstruction, providing strong visual connections to her geometric works, which in turn hark back to the traditional Bulgarian folk art and textiles which she cites as major influences.
Yet the relationship between Milanova’s abstract and figurative paintings involves more than shared geometric components. In both styles she creates dynamic and surprising compositions, relying not only on repeating and alternating lines, but also on rich and varied textures. Her style of application ranges from fine and delicate facial details to thickly applied impasto in the abstract works. This agility with her oil paints lends each canvas additional layers of dimensionality and textural richness.