Maia Naveriani’s artistic practice is rife with possibilities and the odd plight. Her works, primarily in colored pencil or watercolor on paper, are catalytic—charged with a jolt of life and composed with a coursing light.
Maia Is Innocent 2002 Coloured pencils on paper. Maia Naveriani
Senna 2012 Coloured Pencils on paper 57x42cm. Maia Naveriani
The artist, who lives and works in Tbilisi, takes as her subject matter scraps of routines as well as swatches of synthetic and synesthetic escapes. These routines and escapes are of body and mind, of self and story, and of opportunity and obligation.
Ophelia 2013 Coloured Pencils on paper 153x120cm. Maia Naveriani
Twelve Women Gone Missing 2002 Coloured Pencils on paper. Maia Naveriani
When asked whether her works should be encountered as individual entities or as elements of a cumulative corpus, she suggests that she is intuitively making a “megastructure,” subdivided into series with names like ‘At Home with Good Ideas’ and ‘Nothing to Declare,’ whose bounds are more cognitive than concrete.
Authentic Behavior 2020 Coloured Pencils on paper. Maia Naveriani
Provincial Story 2020 Coloured Pencils on paper. Maia Naveriani
People populate Naveriani’s portfolio, their attitudes, effigies, and ideals. Sometimes the person is Naveriani herself, as in a portrait from 2002 where she appears with a crown and fangs—monarchic and devilish at once, with a self-incriminating sideways glance. In another compelling work, a bird dresses like a banker, or a mid-level bureaucrat; where the wings would be, the bird has lungs, veiny and slightly entangled by green vines. In yet another, a pair of legs has the world at its feet, surveying an expanse while wearing twin Earths as sneakers.
To be sure, Naveriani’s drawings invite projection, privileging prompts over periods. This entreaty is accelerated by her tendency to work vertically and her incorporation of a transportive palate. Her hues are not heavy with history. As Prince-like purples mingle with snappy blues, new ordinances form—impressions dispassionate about parameters and precedent.
When Naveriani puts pencil to paper, she skims and surfs, sculpting without staining. “University of Forward Thinking” (2009) is emblematic of the deft effect of this technique. The artist regularly conjures institutions of varying fiction, reckoning with their “very loud” presence and their promise of conferring value. The work’s title, which is written on the work in yellow, is borrowed from the University of Westminster, who uses the phrase as its slogan. In Naveriani’s interpretation, the University of Forward Thinking is vivid, consumptive, lusting, and luminescent—a house of higher education as high as the clouds, and, pending perspective, just as far away from reality.
For Maia Naveriani, narrative is not a fortification, but a flotation device - a way for moving between and beyond.