Michaela Padeva – Textile Art From Everyday Parts

August 10, 2009

Textiles and threads varied through ages, from animal skin and hair to subtle silk skins and finest brocade as symbols of luxury, nobility and aesthetics. The process came to its most subversive outcome in the nylon, fake leather, and other plastic and artificial materials that marked a new era of textile.

mihaela_padeva_1.jpgLittle Cat Mountain by Michaela Padeva (c)

Together with construction of clothes, fiber art was transforming itself from traditional tapestries to 2 and 3 dimensional objects that are stronger or weaker reminiscence of that course. Michaela Padeva, Bulgarian artist, followed the similar artistic path, changing her language in reference to new cognitions, but remaining true to textile fabrics.

‘The Last Supper’ is exactly what Michaela Padeva considers under this creative pastiche of traditional and modern, both in terms of material, technique and content. She draws on textile art as made of interwoven threads, but chooses a ready made net instead of her own crocheting; than instead of good old oil on canvas, Micahela pastes paper cuts – all this to produce an artwork that bears the name after the father of all painters Leonardo da Vinci. ‘The Last Supper’ by Michaela Padeva shows the direction of her aesthetical and ethical values in a variety of terms: collage compositions in the reference to assemblage art of 50s and 60s and green conscience of using everyday materials found in dumps and streets.

Michaela_Padeva___THE_LAST_.jpgThe Last Supper by Michaela Padeva (c)

Sometimes these artworks show really fine and precise arrangements where simple and rustic materials like card and tape form an interesting mosaic like patterns, combined with fine and transparent tulle. ‘Little Windows’ could be seen as a special perspective of Michaela Padeva that always searches for new/old, nice/ugly materials that would inevitably produce a new aesthetics. It is admiring how she manages to balance beauty and social engagement.

michaela_padeva___little_wi.jpgLittle Windows by Michaela Padeva (c)

But every now and than Michaela Padeva throws at us small bottles of irony on imperfections of life. ‘Quay of Drunkards’ is maybe one of the most neatly, finely done piece of work; a miniature ran aground in a puddle. We, the Balkan people, feel especially strong about this metaphor of our lives, societies and future…

Michaela_Padeva___Kay_des_T.jpgQuay of Drunkards by Michaela Padeva (c)

Maybe that is why Michaela Padeva constantly looks for objects on the streets, waste that has a potential of turning into something nice. With the power of imagination and creation she produces artworks that from a certain distance form only a beautiful figure, but, like in the impressionist paintings, only after a closer look what appeared to be thread or textile patch is just a splinter, a sugar bag, dirt…

michaela_padeva___untitled4.jpgUntitled by Michaela Padeva (c)

The loyalty to aesthetics could be something Michaela Padeva inherited from her educational background. She studied at the Academy of Fine and Applied Arts in Sofia and did her MA in Textile Art. Her professional career was developing in two directions: she was teaching at the College of Applied Arts, Sofia and currently is a lecturer of Textile Art at the Theatre Department of the New Bulgarian University; simultaneously she produces works in textile and fashion design, tapestry, graphics, installations, land art, paper art. Many of her works are part of collections in museums and galleries in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Germany and USA.

One of Michaela’s most recent works includes a paper art ‘Body as a Dress of Soul’, produced on Balkan Fibre Art workshop, that like so many of her art pieces presents a subtle ironical comment on contemporarity, in this case on body cult, but indirectly, in small colorful details sewn onto paper crinoline like a brindled flannel. The hint of the ‘new normality’ is suggested by wooden branches, also sewn on paper, that apart of forming ‘strips on fabric’ stand of something natural.

michaela_padeva6.jpgBody as a Dress of Soul by Michaela Padeva (c)

Michaela Padeva’s art is very much engaged in personal in the relation with social and natural. Each time she reaches after something plain in terms of material she constructs a work whose ambiguity of aesthetical composition and serious or unsightly subject/texture provokes emotions, thoughts and conscience.

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(Ivana Podnar is guest blogger on Personal Cyber Botanica…)

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