Clouds and Ladders, An Exhibition by Zlatica Maksimovic

Originally from Novi Sad, Serbia, Zlatica Maksimovic is an art therapist, painter and art instructor. She is well known in the art circles of Europe for painting the sublime using abstract techniques. Many of her previous paintings focused on angels, a recurring imagery in her art. Described by her students and friends as someone who records life’s moments and truths with her brush, her life skill of painting, they say, conveys a message of love throughout the world.

Her latest exhibition ‘Moln Och Stege’ (‘clouds and ladder’) at the Galleri Greger in Stockholm feature a collection of her paintings, focused on light, changing times and an ascent (or descent) to different states of mind. Fluidity and spaces within her paintings encourage visitors to contemplate on their own lightness. Being an art therapist herself, these paintings also hint at psychological healing and wellbeing, for which letting oneself go amidst clouds of thoughts and feelings are important. Describing any painting as live energy, she has always proposed that art makes one’s worldview broader. Art broadens one’s horizons and teaches the artist to look at life’s situations from different perspectives.

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Whether it is an altered state of mind or a lucid dream, floating through the clouds has always been an allusion for something removed from the realities of everyday. In a therapeutic setting, floating through the clouds could refer to mindfully experiencing one’s thoughts and emotions, without reacting or participating in them. Maksimovic has always been a proponent of meditation and art as vehicles to self-healing.

‘Both Sides, Now’, which is one of the most popular songs ever written by Joni Mitchell and first sung by Judy Collins, alludes to clouds. The songwriter describes clouds as ice creams castles in the air that sometimes look like angel hair or feather canyons, when she is happy. However, the very same clouds can block the sun and bring sheets of rain and frigid snow, enveloping one’s surroundings in darkness, cold and melancholy. Clouds, she says, represent both the sides of life which she has experienced.

These ups and downs in life are rightly represented by light and dark clouds that tint or obscure light in our lives. Similarly, Zlatica’s latest paintings urge the visitors to look at life from different perspectives and use the ladder as an allegory to connect those various states of mind, bringing a holistic mindful state. Mindfulness is one of the pillars of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which was developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Today, mindfulness is used to treat heal many psychological conditions.

Most of her paintings are influenced by impressionist techniques, though her work often transcends art movements. She has previously revealed that her work explore the sublime.  With angels, feminine forms, clouds and vague human figures, she places emphasis on the importance of fluidity of mind. The ladder is acts as an allegory for bridging these fluid entities with a certain objectivity. After all, life is but a healthy balance between the tangible and the abstract.

Talking about the place that she most admires after her home country Serbia, Zlatica Maksimovic describes Stockholm as one of the most beautiful places that she has ever visited. The first time when she visited Stockholm, Zlatica says she felt as if the cosmic doors were opening up to her. She describes it as the most magnificent and magical experience, which changed her life. She considers those changes in her life a gift from Stockholm, the city that has remained the biggest influence in her life after Serbia.

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The exhibition is open to the public on all days of the week, between 25th of September to the 9th of October.

Zlatica Maksimovic’s Facebook page.

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