Artist Statement

Maria Alekseev (OpticVoid)

Artist Statement

My artwork as an NYC-based abstract surrealist painter and printmaker is driven by challenges from the human body, its beauty, despair, and limitations. I delve into the darker aspects of human emotions and the complexities of self-identity and societal expectations.

I create dark images that depict scenes from my dreams and a collection of experiences and curiosities. My work, often portraits, depict haunting poised figures, with elements of the circus, patterns, vibrant colors, and surreal twists. To achieve this, I blend figurative and abstract forms, imagery from hypnopompic hallucinations, personal experiences and other conspicuous elements, resulting in pieces that are unexpected yet beautiful. Using a variety of mediums such as charcoal, watercolor, acrylics, and inks, I make large to medium-sized mixed media paintings on stretched raw canvas or paper, as well as smaller intaglio etching prints.

The elements of preserving experiences, history, costume, and traditions play a crucial role in my vision. A prominent theme in my art is the use of prisms or rainbows to symbolize the manipulation and distortion of light often found in my dreams. The circus serves as a representation for my past, present, and dreams, and allows me to examine the idea of “freaks of nature” in relation to myself. Using metaphors while leaving space for ambiguous thoughts, I choose my topics with authenticity, true to my experiences and personal stories.

Through my work, I aim to encourage viewers to confront their own fears, better understand themselves, unravel the beauty and complexity of others, make sense of irrational thoughts, while appreciating the beauty and diversity of our lives, cultures, and traditions. I invite you to explore my work, and to find the space within it for you to reflect on your own thoughts and experiences.


Maria Alekseev, an Italian American artist born and raised in NYC, is a painter and printmaker whose work is driven by our human relationships with culture, memories, and her experiences with hypnopompic type hallucinations, which serve as the drive for her creation of enigmatic and surreal narratives. The preservation of personal recollections and cultural associations play a vital role in her creative vision.

Growing up in a family embedded in music and artistry, Maria’s path began with dance, a passion she pursed for over 15 years, while simultaneously delving into music practicing flute. At the tender age of 5 she was recognized for her painting talents with an award and publication by The Daily News, and by age 11 she had already secured a flute solo, both a testament to her promising talent.

This fusion of music and craftsmanship in Maria’s family runs deep. Her grandfather, a WWII Battle of the Bulge veteran, was a skilled tailor and a gifted jazz musician, proficient in saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Her father, a notable singer in a doo-wop band, transitioned into architecture after honing his craft at the prestigious New York School of Interior Design.

Health challenges have also left a mark on Maria’s work. Years of coping with a severe digestive illness led her to explore the use of acids and metals in the intaglio process. Additionally, she was diagnosed with a progressive movement disorder, dashing her dreams of becoming a dancer and present a daily challenge as she works within her disability.

Maria Alekseev has evolved into a skillful intaglio printmaker, painter, and arts educator. Armed with a BFA in Printmaking from Pratt Institute and additional degrees in Photography and Advertising Design from FIT. Maria has honed her skills through additional training at esteemed institutions like The Cooper Union, The New School, and the Lower East Side Printshop. Beyond her fine art practice, she shares her wealth of knowledge as a teaching artist in public schools and imparts wisdom through various fine art courses and workshops for adults at a local non-profit art school and gallery.

Since 2001, Maria has graced the NYC art scene with her solo and group exhibitions.

Human perception of the body is so acute and knowledgeable that the smallest hint of a body can trigger recognition.
—Jenny Saville