Monika Furmanaviciute (b. 1978) studied painting at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. In 2007 she received the Viktoras Vizgirda award. In 2009 she was a finalist of the competition “Young Painter Prize”, and in 2010 became the winner of “Student Art Days”. Since 2009 Furmanaviciute has been taking part in group exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad, and since 2010 has held several solo exhibitions in Lithuania and Finland. She is a member of the Lithuanian Artists’ Union since 2011. In 2014 she received a grant from the Research Council of Lithuania for her academic achievements. Her works are held in the collection of the Modern Art Centre in Vilnius and private collections in Lithuania and abroad.
The theme of femininity dominates Furmanaviciute’s work. The painter explores the female identity and gender relations. Referring to the insights of psychoanalysis and sociology, she reflects on the meaning of being a woman in contemporary Western society. In her paintings she seeks to reveal a complex portrait of a modern woman, to embrace the changing meanings of femininity and various roles of the woman, which are often imposed on her by society – from a girl to a super-heroine. The artist frequently incorporates various signs of popular culture using them as symbols of consumer society and pointing to the widespread conversion of the female body into an object. Furmanaviciute challenges the established stereotypes and emphasises the tension between society’s expectations, pressure and the woman’s individual goals and the essence of her identity. A transparent contour of a bare female body repeatedly appears in her paintings as a key motif, as if embodying the real woman not concealed under her social roles and masks and opposing the patriarchal rules of gender. This figure most often acquires the features of the painter herself. Through her own image and nude self-portrait she brings her own story into the narrative of the work, and the social context of her compositions is supplemented with authentic personal experiences. The autobiographical streak and the artist’s voice becomes the key element of her works that increases the psychological intensity of the narrative.
Furmanaviciute’s works are characterised by a particularly vivid, diverse and well-thought-of visual expression. In her paintings she uses non-traditional materials (paints on silk with dye, food, medicine and other organic materials), combines various manners of painting and different means of spreading paint. She also changes the character of the modelling of forms – from sculptural, spatial, flattened and decorative to graphic linear drawing. In one of her compositions, realistic, smoothly and meticulously painted surfaces coexist with outbreaks of impulsive gestural painting, finished details and random effects. All that not only illustrates the possibilities of painting as a medium, but also expands the range of emotions provoked by the plot of the work.