Powerful collages of essential London by Sellvida (Silviya Georgieva)
By James Brewer
Battersea’s bulky power station, Canary Wharf business district from the riverside, Chelsea fire station, Tate Modern’s massive hall, sunset in Fulham.
These are iconic London scenes and themes, and there is an exhilarating new way of looking at them – through their presence in the striking collages with mixed media of one of today’s most imaginative London artists. Silviya Georgieva, who goes under the professional name of Sellvida, has made her home in the UK metropolis, 2,500 km away from the Bulgarian capital Sofia where she was educated and trained. She is deservedly winning widespread international recognition.
Captivated by the individuality of architectural constructs in contemporary London and their relationship to the passing moods of sky and natural light, Sellvida has responded with a personal painterly treatment that is vigorous and sympathetic to the spirit, by turns entrepreneurial and laid-back, of the city.
Her finely-wrought compositions which pack a powerful impact are built up on paper with charcoal, ink, tempera and acrylic. Her combination of paper ‘puzzles’ and colourful expressionism and spots “portrays a dance on the canvas,” she says.
There are valuable lessons to be learned in beauty and sensuality with every piece created by Silviya and others who have keyed in to the vitality of modern society.
A lot, stated but somehow hinted as going on behind the scenes, is under way in the works, making them immediately accessible to the viewer. We join with the artist who is intent on exploring the possibilities of each scene, making us want to look anew at the everyday content of our environment to go beyond its “ordinariness” and identify its underpinning patterns.
Sellvida’s superb eye for colour enhances the quirky realism she brings to her subject matter. Battersea power station is by no means a grey subject in her perusal, and one of her depictions of Canary Wharf bestows the skyscraper jungle with an almost tropical character.
On the other hand, a monochrome view of the main hall of Tate Modern endows it with an affirmation of its function as a temple to contemporary art. She entitled that picture of the Turbine Hall, which is used to house large-scale sculptural projects and site-specific installation, Freedom of Space.
She ranges over man-made and natural scenes, and unsurprisingly is among the many talented practitioners who love seascapes.
Silviya says: “My art is heavily inspired by the surrounding world and drawing on the different experiences that we deal with daily. I love being challenged by new themes, which are reflected in my paintings. In my compositions there is a reappearance of different objects in cuts and contours, which have become a part of my art DNA.”
Her assured mastery of method stands out. “My collages represent an expression of my emotions and the way I perceive them, reflected in colour, contour and different grids. I am painting in this technique most frequently, as I have realised that it very much resembles my multi-layered personality.
“Every painting carries the uniqueness of its own time and place. If you review most of my pieces in detail, you will be able to notice the development of compositions and the artistic transition from one perception to another. You will notice the different layers and conversations with the observer in all my pieces.”
Further, “the different textures deeply interact with the positive and negative contours, similar to what we see in visual photography. Sometimes the different grids and materials contribute to a deeper and more emphasised idea, generating volume with shapes and colours to create the overall appearance of the collage.”
She describes collage as “a game,” meaning “a game of puzzles in the individual’s mind, therefore my audience is broad. What matters the most to me is how the observer identifies with and perceives my paintings.”
Sellvida says that her art reflects her own experiences and observations as a woman and a mother. She is conscious of the effect of living in a world of fast-paced technology and feels that she is a contemporary representative of the new urban society, portraying this in her work.
In Sofia, Silviya mastered in textile and graphic design and lionises her father Stefan, an expert ceramicist, for his inspiration and influence, for raising her “in a highly creative and inquisitive environment.”
Over the past few years, her works have been exhibited in galleries in London, and are present across Europe, in the US, Canada and Australia.
A reproduction of one of her works can be found at the luxury boutique hotel Watermark Autograph Collection, which is part of the Marriott Group in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The collage, entitled Bolero, is said to fit perfectly in the hotel’s art deco interior. More work by Sellvida can be seen in some of the guest rooms and corridors of the hotel.
She was preselected by curator Cheyanne Sauter director of Art Share LA, a dynamic Los Angeles project, in an international competition.
Although collage painting is her favoured speciality, Silviya is proud of her other creative enterprises. These include a series of porcelain jewellery pieces under her trademark of Mislab_London, and she has fashioned silk accessories and fabrics, and lamps. Her collection of the last-named mirrors many of the motifs of her collage. Crafting such items, she makes use of natural materials and hand-made paper from Nepal, Japan and China, and wood, plants, feathers and other ecological elements. Her portfolio has included creating hand-painted walls for children’s rooms and shops.
Her Instagram accounts are @sellvida and @mislab_london. Sellvida’s portfolio can be seen at www.saatchiart.com/sellvida
All photos in this article except the one taken at Sofia Gallery are by Peter Croudace.