Inside and Beyond Myself is an exhibition project of young artist Maria Strapcheva.

The name of the exhibition reflects its main idea – an attempt to solve the problem of self-identification through self-cognition. Creating abstract portraits and trying various images on them, Maria seems to show views from within and from outside.

The portraits vary from chest-high to head ones, featuring people depicted on red, green, and light-blue backgrounds. Some portraits show graphic face lines, while others attract by their abstract geometry. People's faces are clearly asymmetric, sizes and proportions of facial features are disfigured, with one eye usually lower than the other. In fact, we are rarely satisfied with what we look like in pictures. So, who are to blame? An amateur photographer, poor lighting, or a model, who is not photogenic? Or, perhaps, it is just our subjective perception?

The artist's distinctive vision allows us to better understand the modern world through the portraits, and helps to find a place for ourselves in life. Such a daring and bizarre approach to depicting people sometimes encourage the viewer to pay close attention to their face, to do a profound self-examination, and to create their own, albeit mental, self-portraits.

Strapcheva pays special attention to man-woman relationships. The paintings present portraits of men and women, who no longer have a dialogue with each other, but rather perform a monologue addressed to the viewer. The young author's statement is unexceptionable. In pure tones, it gently shows the realities of modern society: promoting feminist ideas and pursuing gender equality, sometimes even blurring boundaries between genders, depreciating the traditional family institution and loneliness.

The sketchy portraits randomly located on the canvas allow us to reflect on how much people are used to wearing masks and adapt to circumstances. The paintings also make us think about the modern era of total moral impoverishment, the loss of moral and ethical values and rotten paradigm of goals, buried alive in the ashes of destroyed ideals, and finally, the lost dream, doomed to die, being a victim of universal ignorance.

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