WALLS

PhotographerMaria Svarbova
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Maria’s distinctive style departs from traditional portraiture and focuses on experimentation with space, colour, and atmosphere. Taking an interest in Socialist era architecture and public spaces, Maria transforms each scene with a modern freshness that highlights the depth and range of her creative palette. The human body throughout her oeuvre is more or less a peripheral afterthought, often portrayed as aloof and demure rather than substantive. Carefully composed figures create thematic, dream-like scenes with ordinary objects. Her images hold a silent tension that hint at emergent possibilities under the lilt of clean and smooth surfaces. There is often a sense of cool detachment and liminality in Maria’s work. Routine actions such as exercise, doctor appointments, and domestic tasks are reframed with a visual purity that is soothing and symmetrical and at times reverberant with an ethereal stillness. The overall effect evokes a contemplative silence in an extended moment of promise and awareness—a quality difficult to achieve in the rapid pace of modern life. Maria’s postmodern vision boldly articulates a dialog that compels the viewer to respond to the mystery, loneliness, and isolation of the human experience. Nevertheless, deeply embedded within the aqueous pastels, Maria’s compositions hold to a celebratory elegance that transforms the viewer’s gaze into an enduring reverence for life’s simple beauty.

About Photographer

Maria Svarbova was born in 1988 in Slovakia. Despite studying restoration and archeology, she found a medium for her artistic expression in photography. Since 2010, she has focused on developing her own photographic language, quickly gaining international recognition. Amongst awards, solo and group exhibitions, her work has been featured in Vogue, Guardian, Instagram, and many other publications. Highlights of her commercial work include commission for promotional poster displayed at the Taiwanese landmark, 101 skyscraper. Maria has developed a distinctive style early on – departing from traditional portraits to focus on experimentation with space, colour and atmosphere. Her interest in architecture and public spaces, usually build in the Socialist era, led her to create unique sceneries. Human body in Maria's photographs is more or less a prop, without individuality or emotions. As part of careful composition, beautifully alien figures create still, dream-like scenes with ordinary objects. There is a silent tension, the drama is hidden under clean, smooth surface. Even in her more ornamental, nostalgic works there is a sense of cold detachment. Everyday actions such as sports or doctors visit are frozen in a moment and through Maria's eyes, given a new meaning. Soothing pastels, geometry and visual purity give a sense of otherworldly order, undisturbed visual pleasure that is unattainable in real life. Through her photographs, Maria stops the time and shares her vision: she is not afraid to address the loneliness and isolation, nevertheless she chooses to celebrate its still, calm beauty.