In their latest body of work, artists Alina Zamanova and Michaela Stark have collaborated to explore beauty in the female form through the mediums of painting, sculpture, draping and self-portrait photography.
On show at Noho Studios in London and virtually at Gillian Jason from 12 November, Inside Me sees the two artists take a closer look at social perceptions of beauty and what it means to embrace feelings of discomfort in one's own skin. The pair expose their own physical vulnerabilities and counteract prescribed beauty norms by accentuating parts of the female body such as fuller hips, breasts and stomachs that western society typically shuns.
Ukrainian Zamanova and Paris‐based Stark met on social media in 2019 and struck an immediate friendship and mutual admiration for each other's work. Bolstered by their connection, they began working on Inside Me during lockdown, collaborating remotely through Zoom calls from their respective studios, sharing work, process and their practices. The two artists will meet in real life for the first time at the opening of Inside Me.
Zamanova and Stark have also created a six-‐part film, documenting their unique creative process. What begins with a simple illustration by one artist will be captured as a photograph by the other to ultimately create a painting or sculpture or draping self-portrature.
Commenting on the exhibition, Zamanova says: "Inside Me is a culmination of many things for me. It propelled me further into my art and into a deep exploration of the female form and my own bodily truths. I began to see my vulnerabilities as a strength, the perceived ugliness as a way of examining what beautiful really means in our society today. Collaborating with Michaela has brought a new dimension to my work, adding depth and ability to share our stories through art."
Stark adds: "On an emotional level, my art allows me to work through feelings of discomfort in my own skin. While my photographic self-‐portraits exude this sense of power and confidence, underneath I feel the same sense of insecurity and self-‐judgement that many other women feel towards themselves. I think I look up to Alina’s paintings: the women that she paints are so beautiful and strong because of their flaws. Sometimes I try to mimic their strength within my own body."