Stardust and Shadow

October 19, 2023November 30, 2023

Natalia Maniaka (b. 1997, Thessaloniki) is an artist living and working in Thessaloniki, Greece. Her artistic process is dedicated to capturing the intricate emotional dimensions that constitute the human experience. Layers and textures infuse depth and complexity into her compositions, unveiling hidden details and allusive narratives. She reflects on concepts such as identity and femininity and expresses their complex structure with symbolic narratives. She often depicts the female figure in front of a dreamlike and enigmatic background, creating visual stories and allegorical representations. The sense of agency and autonomy reflected in the body poses challenge traditional notions of female representation, elevating their status from mere objects. Through the female gaze, she explores the dreamscape as a haven where the spirit is free to roam manifesting its deepest desires, fears, and aspirations. The word shadow in the exhibition title is a direct reference to Carl Jung's shadow theory about the repressed part of the psyche, that has shaped her practice. The combination of the surreal with the familiar adds psychological tension to her works.  Maniaka's distinctive use of a rich and vibrant color palette contributes to the emotional and sensory impact of her creations. Her use of color is both dynamic and thought-provoking and adds to the unsettling nature of her paintings, characterized by a heightened sense of saturation. She creates a visual language that bridges the past with the present and classical techniques with contemporary anxieties, highlighting therefore the vulnerability of existence and the questions that shape our lives. She draws inspiration from mythology and pop culture, while taking references from culture and history of art.