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Anna Kovina is a visual artist and sculptor, interested in the maternal body as an archeological site for exploring individual emotional experiences of motherhood, constricted by the contemporary reverberations of our collective histories.  Her work communicates answers to questions about the common experiences of motherhood, such as what it might be like to feel pleasure and pain simultaneously, juggle it “all,” or function while living in the multiple.  Like their maker, Kovina’s works exist as time-traveling relics of our evolution, recording the internal sense of embodied reverberations of the dissolving and reemerging “personal” within the “political.”  In their amalgamated abstraction, they cannibalize Anna’s many lives as an artist, a lawyer, a farmer, and a mother - at home in Moscow, Tashkent, and Sonoma County.  Kovina’s visual language mends together the unseemly experiences of conception, gestation, birth, postpartum, lactation, and mothering tiny humans against the cotton-candied backdrop of modern motherhood.  She works intuitively and directly, often impelled by the physical interaction of her hands with the materials.  In repeated rounds of manipulation with sewing needles, torches, washing machines, kilns, and furnaces, transformation continuously occurs. Throughout this process, Kovina searches for and magnifies the basal behaviors of the particular materials she has chosen.  Her process reaches into the gendered traditions of the ancient crafts of bronze casting, glass forming, textile work, employing them to situate her work out-of-turn with socially acceptable representation of mothering bodies like hers.  In collaboration with extreme temperatures, the historically contradictory materials are forged into anomalous dancers, prime for transfiguration into embryos, vulvas, or something like felted Russian snow boots, the “valenki.”  In this process, the figures emerge from the shadow landscape of her maternal ecology, dark and moist.  They dance, juggle, stretch, stripped of their Potemkin village façade, to display the truths of her animal body.  They represent living, breathing, and, at times, ovulating entities that function as a collection of memories that is her children’s mother.  These impossible abstract biomorphic figures appear to crack, to blister, and to recede into comforting bodily cavities.  They contain no front view or right side up, existing in the world as memories or needs of others.  They struggle for stability, they comfort, and they threaten.  While some of the works can be cradled in the palm of one hand, others are suspended in space or enthroned on hallow altars.  Their cast shadows are pools of our intertwined subconsciousness, pulsating within the maternal body.  Anna Kovina is a mother of three children, who grew up in Moscow, Russia and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and has lived and worked in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, CA, prior to relocating to Richmond, VA in 2021.

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© 2021 by Anna Kovina Artist. All rights reserved.

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