Our latest Dragon’s Lair Gallery exhibition is titled Interactions and presents the works of Sydney based artist Vyara Malcheva. Her acrylic abstract works explore colour, shape and texture in context of the visual stimuli she encounters in the environment transformed through her personal reflections and experiences.
In the lead up to her exhibition we were able to ask Vyara a few questions regarding her practice. A main theme in her art, which inspired the name of the exhibition, is the interaction between nature and man in the urban environment which she explores from different perspectives. Recent highlights in her career have included being a finalist at Bayside Visual Art Prize 2019 and winning the Emotionally Thriving category at Ashrei Art Prize in 2020.
Image courtesy of Vyara Malcheva.
Can you give us an insight into your artistic process? Is your work pre-planned or created intuitively? How long does each work take to complete?
My process is intuitive. I rarely make sketches or photographs, but I do a lot of thinking and planning in my head. I work in the studio once a week and during the rest of the time I think what I am going to paint that night. My artworks are inspired by visual stimuli – colors, shapes, patterns I see around me; and artists or artworks I find interesting and relevant to the ideas that I want to convey. I like the spontaneity of starting a new painting with just a vague idea how it will look like. I am responding to what is on the canvas and keep a dialogue with the painting and the concept in my head until I am satisfied with the result in visual and conceptual terms.
Can you explain your technique; how you manipulate the medium?
I like the bold and spontaneous mark making of abstract expressionists, but I am drawn to color field art and the grid of geometric abstraction. All these elements are part of my visual language. I start with a quick, expressive marks and blocks of color. After the painting is dry, I apply masking tape to create the grid of straight lines which I am trying to integrate in the existing painting. The tricky part is that I am painting over the areas that I see, and leave exposed the areas under the masking tape which I can’t see, so I need to remember what I covered with masking tape. It is always a surprise when I take off the tape. After this fast, initial stage, I continue to alternate the two processes but a bit slower, carefully deciding which edges to smooth down and what to bring up.
For the mixed media works I like to use paper which I prepared in advance with interesting colors and textures. I cut the shapes and arrange them in composition and at the end I add some lines and details by drawing and painting to integrate them and to create more complexity and focal points.
Work in progress of ‘Charting the unknown’ by Vyara Malcheva.
Do you keep some kind of ongoing drawing book or diary? Or a collection of images or photographs for inspiration?
Sometimes I make sketches but usually I take photographs to remind me about an idea or visual inspiration that I had. I never copy the photographs, I take some aspects from them, i.e. color scheme or shapes, to develop my paintings.
Who are your favorite artists? Who do you draw inspiration from?
I am inspired by the abstract expressionists from the New York School – Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, conceptual and minimalist artists like Sol LeWitt, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and contemporary artists like Peter Atkins, Jonny Niesche and Mark Bradford.
You can follow Vyara Malcheva on Instagram.
Interactions is on display at Hurstville Museum & Gallery from 8 – 30 August 2020.
Visitors will be able to meet with Vyara for an ‘Afternoon with the Artist‘ at the Museum & Gallery on Sunday 9 August 2020 from 2.00pm – 5.00pm.