Maya Kulenovic

Maya Kulenovic
Born (1975-03-01)March 1, 1975
Sarajevo, SFR Yugoslavia
Nationality Canadian
Education Ontario College of Art and Design University, University of the Arts London, Mimar Sinan University
Known for Painting, Drawing, Sculpture
Movement Metamodernism, Contemporary Realism

Maya Kulenovic is a Canadian artist[1] and painter. She lives and works in Toronto, Canada and exhibits internationally.[2]


Kulenovic was born March 1, 1975 in Sarajevo, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia).

She studied at Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto, Canada; Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, Turkey; and Chelsea College of Art and Design (University of the Arts London) in London, England. She is also an alumna of Goodenough College in London, England.[3]

A book about the work of Maya Kulenovic by Edward Lucie-Smith in Dutch and English was published by d'jonge Hond in the Netherlands in 2008.


Whether with portraits, which she terms “faces”, architecture, referred to as “build” works, landscapes or still life images, Kulenovic's focus is to capture an ambience or psychological state. She deliberately explores ambiguity, and in her approach to the painted surface she works in glazed layers as well as destructive techniques to create images evoking a particular atemporal context.[4]

Her influences range from sculpture and painting to architecture, photography and film, and include Roman death masks, 19th century daguerreotype photography, documentary films, stills from damaged motion pictures, Eugène Atget, Margaret Bourke-White, Rembrandt, Turner and Francis Bacon.[5]

Edward Lucie-Smith wrote the following about Kulenovic's work:

"No-one could describe Maya Kulenovic's paintings as 'photographic', but their place in the realist tradition is nevertheless secure. Her work is realist in the way that Rembrandt and Goya are realist. They attempt to explore the essence of human existence, and often come up with uncomfortable truths. These truths are conveyed through paintings that fall into very specific categories, related to the old hierarchy of genres that was discarded by the pioneering Modernists, in Kulenovic's work we find still life paintings, portraits (of a sort), landscapes and architectural compositions"

"(about her portraits) .... the artist's preoccupation seems to be, not the creation of a likeness but the presentation of a psychological state. When one looks at these (portraits), one realizes that they are in fact the key to Kulenovic's work considered as a whole. The still lifes, the architectural compositions, and the landscapes are also, in their essence, attempts to identify and present a particular state of being. This quality is what makes her work so haunting, and so unlike the work of any other artist of her generation that I can immediately think of."



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