Victorian House Gallery > Natalija Mijatovic: Quiet Garden

Natalija Mijatovic: Quiet Garden
Jan. 27 — Mar. 23, 2023
An artist interview video will be posted on Saturday, Feb. 4

Internally, I dwell in uninhabited residual landscapes of urban decay and gray façades of soc-realist architecture of Eastern Europe. I remember my previous life as a wintery silence of an empty city, ashes of the burnt home, and snow. 

I am attracted to unknown spaces that have a “known” or “lived” quality for me, as if I remember them from some past life. I am guided by an instinctual feel of familiarity. Every ruin is a memory of a lost home, and in my case a lost homeland. 

I often build up my spaces by painting them in detail, and then proceed to cover with numerous veils of transparent paint to pull some details up front again, mostly leaving it in a suggestive state of quiet presence. Obliteration and restoring - the notion of loss in terms of painterly language is related to the reduction in palette and absence of figuration. I think of the non-presence of people, rather than their absence. Non-presence seems more active in a way, it’s a space which is in a latent state. Absence is a space that is left behind. I think of spaces I create as a refuge or a quiet place for us to find a moment of reflection.  

Repetition is deliberate. Both linear structures, built by repetitive horizontal and vertical lines as a grid (support, net, fabric, something that holds matter together), and dots of paint that are condensations of water, droplets of rain, snowflakes, or beads of sand, are a quiet, long repetitive activity. The dots hover over the surface creating their own grid. Surface of the painting is a frozen lake water. 

I apply thin layers of paint, in a slow mourning ritual. Veiling of shrouds, as caring, preserving efforts to stop the decay. Melancholic and meditative, as countless small marks are being made, I am in a state of permanent prayer, mindful of the hand that makes the mark yet remains unnoticeable. I enjoy the fact that marks appear as if the weather made them, or ashes, or sand.  

I am deeply committed to this path of materializing in mark and color the internal landscapes of memory and loss, a denouement of the visceral in matter. 

Natalija Mijatović (b. Belgrade, Serbia 1974) received a B.F.A. from the University of Montenegro, and a M.F.A. in painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts. Mijatović has exhibited internationally in many solo and invitational exhibits: CUE Art Foundation in New York; Museum of American Art, Philadelphia; Moderne Kunst Aus Montenegro - Stephansdom, Vienna, Austria; Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts Gallery, Binghamton, U.S.A.; International Festival of Alternative Cultural Exchange (F.A.C.E.) - Belgrade and Novi Sad, Serbia; Cluj and Bucharest, Romania; Plovdiv and Sofia, Bulgaria; Sarajevo, Bosnia; Strasbourg, France; Eindhoven, The Netherlands; and Utopia Station at the 50th Venice Biennial, Italy. Mijatović is a recipient of many international awards including the Joan Mitchell Foundation M.F.A. Grant, New York; Faculty Excellence Award at the Savannah College of Art and Design, GA; Center for Contemporary Art Award in Podgorica, Montenegro; and residencies such is Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France. She is currently professor in the Department of Art and Design, and chair of the Faculty Senate at the Binghamton University, SUNY.