Rusudan Khizanishvili’s (well-deserved) time in the limelight is fast approaching. Having risen to global prominence through her unique painting style, the Georgian artist has been on a tear, exhibiting throughout her native Eastern Europe, as well as in major art hubs such New York, London, and Los Angeles. Using her paintings as “multilayer[ed] portals,” Khizanishvili envisions her scenes as “symbolic door handles between cultures, nations, times and identities.” Yet, what at first may appear an opaque or necessarily self-generative practice takes root in observation: Rusudan has previously noted the aesthetic influence of Georgian architecture on her work, and lists the Old Masters as key elements of forming her style. Indeed, while her practice has been called “more intuitive than conceptual, more subliminal than theoretical,” Rusudan’s command of art historical practices is not to be scoffed at.
This background, however, can be missed as the viewer becomes absorbed into her work. As fantastical flora meld with archetypal human forms – Rusudan has explicitly referenced the import of Book of Hours illuminations in her work – one must quickly come to terms with the alterity of the world pictured. Despite this, Kizanishvili’s work never quite loses its humanist thread, and as otherworldly as her compositions become, there remains a sense of likeness: allegory is allowed to take hold, simultaneously indulging in fantasy while bearing truths uncomfortable to confront. No matter, her paintings are magnetic, and once one begins to look, it proves near-impossible to stop. All the better for Khizanishvili – as her practice and reputation expand, she’ll soon have the world’s attention.