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Alexandra Averbach

Realist painter Alexandra Averbach's body of work is most notably identified by her details and stunningly executed still lifes. Inspired by her study of seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Pieter Claesz, and Dirck de Bray, Averbach's use of oil paint, color and shadow demonstrate a modern-day take on classical realism. Her oil painting Kindred Peonies exemplifies her style in her use of saturation and contrast. The dark blue background emphasizes the various pink hues and gives them more vibrancy. Similarly, her piece Indulgence speaks to her simplistic yet masterful technique. The subject is a mini-cheesecake topped with an exquisitely detailed strawberry. Deep, rich reds of the strawberry and jam are so elegantly executed that an everyday object becomes a perfected and extraordinary sight, creating the illusion of a gracefully crumbling cake and inviting viewers to take a bite.

Originally from Moscow, Averbach immigrated to the United States as a child. She studied finance in college, yet soon realized that it didn't fulfill her. "I basically knew even when I was in college studying finance wasn't right, Averbach said. "So when I started working in finance it felt like I was going against my character." However, Averbach finds similarities between finance and fine art—particularly in her approach to the creation process. "In finance, with numbers, everything has to line up. With art I'm the same way. I'm not free-flowing without any thought or reason. I'm very structured."

Before painting on canvas, Averbach photographs her subjects. She looks for two main characteristics when photographing: lighting and composition. Oftentimes, Averbach takes a series of photographs, shifting perspectives and angles. "I have to combine a lot, so if I don't like the composition or if the lighting isn't right, a lot of times I have to change it." For Averbach, the subjects that she chooses aren't meant to be copied. Instead, they are references for her own creation. "I call my work contemporary realism. I'm not trying to recreate a photo, I'm just trying to make it realistic to my own view." Yet even in her own personal reproduction, her still lifes, whether flowers or pastries, are just as breathtaking and mesmerizing on canvas as that of reality. Averbach's body of work mostly consists of florals, mainly because she "just loves painting them." Their patterns, shapes, and color combinations inspire Averbach to reproduce their structures. "I get lost in them when I paint them. To me, flowers are the most soothing subject. I can paint them for hours, more than anything else. I find them very beautiful, especially when the sun hits them just right." Averbach captures a specific moment of absolute beauty, and recreates it for viewers to not only find artistic value in, but personal serenity as well.

Mirabelle Alan
June 2017