Veronica Smirnoff's work takes as its starting point pre-Renaissance and icon painting, folklore and Asian tradition. Constructed with traditional materials - pigment ground from semi-precious stones and mixed with egg yolk and wine - and painted on oak panels blessed in Russian monasteries, the works seem to hark from another era. Layer by layer, the surface is encrusted with texture and then sanded down to its sedimentary surface. Wistful, fantastical, and richly evocative, Smirnoff’s paintings appear allegorical yet evade narrative analysis, instead forcing us into an intuitive, emotive response.

"An abiding sense of art history is ever present in my work ... I have always been interested in the construction of the iconic, the “Icon” as the object of worship and its relationship to “popular art” with a wide repertoire of signs: the flat moulding of figures, schematic linearity and cut-out two-dimensional quality, the abstract effects of colour, flatness and tilted depth. There’s nothing accidental about its inner logic - the sensitivity to relative positions of objects in a visual composition and expressive use of lines; iconographic registers are all about what’s signified and how."