Carly Janine Mazur is a Connecticut-based artist who paints portraits of realistic nude figures in metaphorical, emotional settings. One woman surrenders her heart to a monster; another is feverishly overcome by black, smothering roots; and another meditates deeply as shadows slowly arise around her. Each of Mazur’s portraits have an almost mythic or esoteric quality; using nudity and abstract forms together to unearth spiritual experiences, Mazur captures scenes of rapture and agony that transcend the limitations of the corporeal body.
Resonating with Mazur’s expressive content is the artist’s own experience of creating it. Several of the images here are from Mazur’s Metamorphosis series, which is currently being exhibited at the Arch Enemy Arts gallery in Philadelphia. Characterized by organic imagery and dark, flowing forms that both embrace and overwhelm the figures, this series teeters on the edge between life and death, ecstasy and despair, chaos and serenity. For Mazur, Metamorphosis involved finding balance in her process, and allowing art and emotion to flow naturally—although the journey was uncertain.
“While working on Metamorphosis, I broke, and I’m not afraid to admit it,” Mazur explains in her Artist Spotlight. “I was completely cut down by the challenge of creating a visual theme. My first attempt at pushing through the ‘cocoon’ left me disheartened and doubting my ability to create. The first piece in the series, then titled ‘Limbo,’ fell apart emotionally and compositionally, and I felt crushed by looming deadlines, although still a ways away, dominating the horizon.” (Source)
After a few days of creative purgatory, Mazur realized that “metamorphosis is an organic process, following a limited set of rules and drawing from a limited set of resources.” By setting these boundaries, Mazur was able to let her artwork and energies flow between them. The result is a series of stunning portraits that embody both intensity and clarity, bound seamlessly together by their style, theme, and emotional resonance.