Essay by Āngels Ferrer
The human body is the real protagonist in Daria Souvorova's drawings, in a condition that goes beyond a physical appearance. A body that clearly conveys what makes us human beings: love, pain, struggle for survival, the relationship with oneself and with others, and how easy it is to fall into one of the deadly sins.
Figures from The Seven Deadly Sins series talk about Daria herself, her circumstances and her relationships. However, her creative ability raises the figures into the category of great characters. So, she achieves that we feel empathy for them on the whole. We look into the weaknesses, vices, and feelings of her characters. We can identify with what happens to them and, together with the artist herself, denounce what has led them to this situation. Every character or figure reveals a deadly sin: lust, sloth, gluttony, envy, pride, vanity, and greed. With unusual intensity, the artist conveys how these deadly sins prevent human beings to be free. The human being is a prisoner of these sins that, in turn, are favored by the society around us.
The artist depicts intimate troubles that are seeking the complicity of the viewer. And she really gets to involve us: In the stunning drawing Vanity, we see the struggle to be thin as an ideal image proposed by the media and fashion world. The price to pay is high: sacrifice and suffering and damage inflicted to get purified and win. But, in fact, what the artist wants to tell us is the desire to control her own body not depending on devastating social conventions. In the overwhelming Pride, the boy tries to flee from the pride of the most powerful in order to find his own way and his own personality in a desperate fight against authoritarianism and the right of possession. A sad drawing, Gluttony, shows how eating bad leads not only to obesity but loneliness; or how miserable is the character in Greed's drawing, that leads her to selfishness and lack of solidarity. We can feel sorry in Envy watching how this sin leads a man to humiliate and crush another. We discern something different in Lust and Sloth, in which tenderness dominates the scene but laziness is there too, perhaps to show that many people are incapable to love. The series also makes clear that women are stronger, they will pull ahead willfully in any situation while men appear more vulnerable, passive and in need of care.
Daria Souvorova knows that art has a social projection, so her drawings are very direct, and even teaching. They are very accurate, even audaciously so, the result of a very laborious work and total mastery of compositional resources. She joins classic art with contemporary art in her work. What is contemporary is specified in the provocative way she depicts the subjects, in the line of the XXI century art that is fixated on the physical and psychological wounds of the human body and, shows them shamelessly. And then, she connects with classicism because her drawings are persistent for what they have of the human and universal, timeless, actually. Art History is well known to Daria: Greco-Roman mythology, Renaissance and Baroque especially are major periods that have influenced her. She labors to create sculptural volumes: the form it's very convincing and the faces are in great verisimilitude. The compositions are designed by the arrangement of accessories that symbolize the sins, by the figure's impressive physical presence and, in particular, by playing with mirrors in some drawings. These tools reflect the contemplation of the truth in all its complexity and really is where the underlying tension in the air is palpable.
Drawings that are going straight into the soul and the mind of the beholder. Drawings that cause sensation for life's harshness, drawings that promote our capacity for empathy, drawings that lead us to the knowledge for dealing with real problems and, most of all, that give us the admiration for their technical quality. At the end, art as a meditation about human nature.
Āngels Ferrer, Art Historian
Daria Souvorova is a painter and designer. She received her Master of Fine Art from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. Living and working in Baltimore, Daria works primarily in graphite, pastel, and oil on linen with a focus on narrative figuration. Daria is the recipient of the Maryland State Art Council's Individual Artist Grant and Golden Artist Materials Grant. Daria has exhibited in New York, Maryland, and Australia and her work was included in exhibitions in New York, Philadelphia, Texas, Connecticut, Virginia, Kansas, and Maryland. Daria's work is included in several public collections including the permanent collection of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Museum of Art. Daria's work was published in Art Forum, Gallery Guide, American Art Collector, Modern Painters, New American Paintings, various newspapers and media.
Daria recently completed a yearlong position as the Artist-in-Residence at PrattMWP and works as an AP Studio Art and AP Art History instructor at George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology. Daria has taught in undergraduate and community education programs and has given lectures on her work and the fine arts at PrattMWP, Guildford Grammar School, Pratt Institute and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In addition, Daria worked extensively with Pratt Institute's Mobile Laboratory. Working with Dr. Bernhard Bluemich and Dr. Eleonora Del Federico, Daria performed portable Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Xray Fluorescence research in Herculaneum, Italy. Daria is an author on the joint publication of "Ancient Roman wall paintings mapped nondestructively by portable NMR" in Analytical and Bio-Analytical Chemistry. She has taught and given lectures on Portable NMR Conservation in Herculaneum, Ancient Roman Fresco Technique and Application, as well as the synthesis of a variety of historic media and materials.