Emerging Artists | Alexandra Averbach

Awakening the senses

Alexandra Averbach, Blue, oil, 32 x 40.

Alexandra Averbach, Blue, oil, 32 x 40.

This story was featured in the June 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  June 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Alexandra Averbach’s floral paintings beseech viewers to stop and smell the roses—and ranunculus, peonies, lilacs, and numerous other blooms she brings to life on canvas. Each flower dazzles the eye with an uplifting palette, from blush pink to brilliant marigold. By amplifying the colors in her still lifes, the artist hopes to stimulate the senses and even suggest a fragrance. “The brightness of the flowers definitely serves that purpose—to make viewers feel like they can almost smell them,” says Averbach. “I increase color and contrast because I feel it makes them much more vibrant, so I make the darks a little darker and the lights a little lighter.”

In each petal she portrays, Averbach inspects the intricate crinkles and curls and amends the imperfections, giving every blossom its own distinctiveness as unique as a thumbprint or snowflake. The New Yorker has no trouble finding flowers to photograph for reference. Trips to Central Park, the New York Botanical Garden, and other local parks usually do the trick, and when flowers aren’t flourishing outdoors, she buys fresh blooms at bodegas around the city. “I take hundreds and hundreds of photos of different arrangements,” she says, “because I don’t really know what’s going to work. I always try to have a choice.”

Averbach’s mother, a pianist, nurtured her daughter’s creativity as a child, enrolling her in sculpture, drawing, and painting classes. She studied economics in college and later earned a master’s degree in art history, but she craved more. Inspired by her interest in photographing flowers, she began painting them in 2011, soon progressing to other assorted still lifes, from sweet-tooth-inspired candies and pastries to plump blueberries and fine china. For AFTERNOON TEA, a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine’s art competition last year, Averbach stacked dainty porcelain teacups atop matching saucers, garnishing the nearly teetering ensemble with a canary-yellow rose. “I knew there had to be something on top,” she says. “As I was painting, I thought a rose would fit perfectly. Sometimes you just have to add things at the end.”

Although many have described her style as hyper-realism, Averbach prefers the term contemporary realism. “I’m not trying to copy a photograph,” she explains. “I’m reworking it. I’m always looking for imperfections and trying to make a work the best it can be.” —Kim Agricola

representation
www.alexandrapaintings.com

This story was featured in the June 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  June 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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