'Sea of Samsara' Artwork Analysis by Christopher Rosewood


sea of samsara diana malivani artwork analysis critique christopher rosewood art artistDiana Malivani’s heterogeneous and comprehensive oeuvre reflects her dexterity and visual acuity in every artwork, however while considering her wider collection I instantly found ‘Sea of Samsara’ particularly compelling as it is so axiomatic of its subject. Malvani effortlessly and sedulously translates the ethos of Samsara via remarkable compositional features and her astute application of medium; indeed, the cyclical motion of the piece visually references philosophical ideas of rebirth, reincarnation and overlapping narratives. ‘Sea of Samsara’ proffers an astounding emotional journey that calls upon a myriad of elements with roots in vast swathes of art history dating from the very earliest evidence of creativity, and yet still maintains an undeniable sense of modernity that demands unequivocal recognition of its nuance and grace.

The recurrence of history is artfully expressed in ‘Sea of Samsara’ by the contrast between representations of primitive creative endeavour and the artist’s impeccably refined execution. The textures harnessed in the piece seem to depict an enduring chronicle; each miniscule element encapsulates a trove of magnificently mysterious wonders that suggest a cognitive conjunction with Jean Dubuffet. ‘Sea of Samsara’ seamlessly juxtaposes the essence of Egyptian hieroglyphs and rudimentary cave drawing with sophisticated movement and captivating colours, demonstrating a flair that is aligned with Richard Pousette-Dart. Indeed, it is this extraordinarily bold use of colour and volcanic energy that evokes a rich and primordial sense of fire; this acknowledgement of the elements reinforces Malivani’s cerebral intentions and fundamental message that is exponent in the work and stimulates academic thought in the viewer.

Malivani’s aptitude for utilising art as a social mirror and tool for societal comment proffers powerful connections with Alexander Rodchenko and Aleksandra Ekster, as well as the quintessence of the Constructivist movement as a whole. Malivani’s interpretation of Samsara is evident through the diverse spectrum of animals, shapes and objects that form intricate tableaus, which are layered as a rich tapestry to illustrate the circle of life. In this sense, Malivani is both physically and psychologically constructing art; the passage of time is given radical phrenic importance in ‘Sea of Samsara’ as the viewer can observe stages of artistic manifestation that documents boundless progression, not only of creativity, but also of humanity itself.

‘Sea of Samsara’ exhibits a profound relativity between Malivani and Cubism in her redolent use of line and shape; certainly, her adroit capability to convey a multifaceted story through a simple suggestion of form suggests a commonality with Louis Marcoussis. The strong, angular shapes found within the fibres of the painting obtain visual comparisons with Kenneth Noland and Josef Albers, while her vehement use of medium appears congruous with Emil Nolde and artists associated with Die Brücke, and simultaneously casts reflection on urban graffiti artists such as Futura 2000. By enabling the viewer to ponder such a divergent array of artistic practice, Malivani’s virtuosity comments on the evolutionary aspect of contemporary art, whilst undoubtedly securing herself within its realm.

Christopher Rosewood
International Confederation of Art Critics