Spotlight

Spotlight artist Maria Kreyn

Championed by curator and patron Maria Vega
The Wick - Kreyn, Egg Fire Crown
Above  Kreyn, Egg Fire Crown
ONES TO
WATCH
ONES TO
WATCH
The Wick - Maria Kreyn Studio, 2020
Above  Maria Kreyn Studio, 2020
Interview
Maria Kreyn
17 April 2024
Interview
Maria Kreyn
17 April 2024
The Russian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Maria Kreyn creates lush, luminous paintings in oil on a monumental scale. A compelling storyteller with astonishing technical skill, Kreyn’s works pay homage to a long, well-established tradition of oil painting yet they also offer the artist’s perspective on life and the power of paint, intertwining a contemporary point of view on age-old and timeless themes – nature, the weather, fragility, fear, awe, and love.

Soaring with emotions, Kreyn – who is self-taught in painting – is masterful at manipulating light, colour and line in brushwork, to heighten the human drama and tension. It was fitting that Andew Lloyd Webber reached out to commission Kreyn to create eight enormous paintings to hang permanently in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane – each inspired by a different Shakespeare play. The brief, according to Kreyn, was to create work that was “dangerous, and apocalyptic, with your soul on the line.”

Kreyn’s champion for The Wick is Maria Vega – art patron, curator and founder of M.O.N. (Ministry of Nomads) Art Foundation, both striving to give a platform to emerging artists. Vega positions Kreyn as an artist who redefines the landscape genre.
Vega said: “I first encountered Maria’s storm paintings at a pivotal moment in my curatorial career and was instantly captivated by their unique blend of Romantic celebration of nature’s sublime and modern abstract geometries. Recognising the philosophical richness in Maria’s work, I felt a deep, personal connection to the themes of chaos and harmony within nature, themes that resonated with my own experiences and artistic journey. My championing of Maria goes beyond mere curatorship; it is a testament to my belief in the power of art as a medium for dialogue, exploration, and understanding.”

Kreyn’s attraction to the universal and the elemental perhaps comes from the Old Masters, who the artist has been looking at for most of her life, reprising some of the “things I love most in those paintings through a personal lens.” Incorporating her interests from literature and contemporary dance, Kreyn creates a kind of alchemy on the canvas where the old is enlivened by the new. The hyper realistic look of her works is achieved by using a mix of heavily impastoed brushwork and layers of semi transparent paint.

In her latest exhibition – the artist’s most ambitious project to date, curated by champion Maria Vega – Kreyn presents ten monumental paintings inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and based on Kreyn’s own observations of and responses to storms. Housed in an active Anglican church in Venice, CHRONOS also explores ancient creation mythology and origin stories, as a way of understanding our connection with our environment. The ominous, swirling skies that stretch over more than two metres of canvas also prompt reflections on climate change, and the menace of our increasingly turbulent skies. Yet Kreyn also bathes us in the pure joy of light – there are hints at the possibility of renewal and change, and even, of hope.

About the champion

The Wick - Spotlight artist Maria Kreyn

Maria Vega is a curator, gallerist, and the founder of Ministry of Nomads, dedicated to commercial, educational, and philanthropic endeavors with the arts, championing the voices of emerging and established artists. In 2023, Vega founded the Mon Art Foundation, with the aim of bridging the gap between the worlds of art, science, and activism. Through the Foundation, Vega continues to curate ambitious exhibitions and foster collaborations between artists and communities around the world.

“Recognising the philosophical richness in Maria’s work, I felt a deep, personal connection to the themes of chaos and harmony within nature”

Place of Birth

NIzhnii Novgorod, Russia

Education

Math/Philosophy, University of Chicago

Current exhibitions

CHRONOS in St. George’s Anglican Church, Venice, 15 April – 22 June 2024

Advice

It’s an infinite game to play, not a finite problem to solve.


Share story
READ MORE
The Wick - Spotlight artist Maria Kreyn
Spotlight

Spotlight Artist Georgina Odell

The Wick - Spotlight artist Maria Kreyn
Spotlight

Spotlight artist Noa Klagsbald

The Wick - Spotlight artist Maria Kreyn
Spotlight

Spotlight artist Veronica Smirnoff

The Wick - Kweku Yeboah Portrait
Spotlight

Spotlight Photo London exhibitor Kweku Yeboah

The Wick - Spotlight artist Maria Kreyn
Spotlight

Spotlight artist Alma Berrow

The Wick - Spotlight artist Maria Kreyn
Spotlight

Spotlight artist Teniqua Crawford