She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.
— Roman Payne, The Wanderess
As one of the most colorful series, Urban Divas delights with its vibrancy while encouraging reflections on female roles in today’s global culture. The clearly defined arrangement of the paintings structures the idea and thus sheds light on the symbolism.
The intense scenery welcomes the viewer with a burst of color and attitude. A wild backdrop is dictated by red on yellow with perky orange splashes sprouting from the ground like flowers, taking up most of the background. In contrast, in the lower part of the painting, city silhouettes in dusky brown remind us of delicate paper cutouts and construct a more peaceful atmosphere. The apparent conflict of the two moods is further heightened by the use of different brushworks. Big, powerful brush movements and wild, rough color splashes at the top encounter fine, accurate details at the bottom. Careless bursts of bumpy pigments thrown against the canvas against the canvas meet precise minutiae, carefully arranged and aligned against the lower image frame. This dual setting seems perfectly seems perfectly suited to a figure as ambiguous as the Diva.
The Urban Divas series shows the Diva in various locations. Wearing colorful clothing, accessories, interesting hairstyles and, most prominently, the well-known Diva expression, she exudes casual indifference. Different dress codes suggest different circumstances. The diverse accessories propose particular atmospheres. Whether promenading in Paris, working in London, shopping in Moscow, going out in New York, dancing in Hollywood, or conquering Dusseldorf, the Diva pretends to know who she is and looks fabulous doing it.
Yet the first impression of the Diva is a provocative one. Taken out of her given context, drifting above the city silhouettes, she gazes over the heads of imaginary crowds. She seems to have no intention of impressing the viewer. Rather, she is fully occupied with herself and exists entirely detached from him. Her narcissistic nature happens to be laid bare for her to celebrate. She appears so delighted with herself that she might as well be alone.
Building on this idea, Miki presents the Diva unaccompanied, breathing strange and vital life into the familiar surroundings of a person’s everyday life. In particular, Miki’s work revisits the subject of loneliness in today’s society; even surrounded by hordes of people it is very easy to feel isolated or lonely. Yet, by leaving the crowds to the viewer’s imagination, all space is used to present the Diva. By displaying the innermost awareness of a character on a large scale, the artist makes the idea and what it stands for more approachable and easier for the viewer to perceive.
Observing the character of the Diva closely, it becomes apparent that the duality of setting further extends to the character. This polarity of character is explicitly represented in the clash of cheerful colors with the nonchalant pose of the single Diva. On the surface, the Diva proudly occupies the painting’s space, aware of the duality of the scenery along with her own polarity. She seems to embrace and enjoy it. Her vain presence reveals only a hint of the turmoil in her inner world. Not only sweet and innocent, but also very feminine, she slyly walks the canvas as if it were a catwalk. On the one hand, she is free. She is calm. She is creative. She is unique. She is full of vivid colors. She feels. She loves. She enjoys being alive. She smiles for no reason. On the other hand, she also knows that she works hard for her dreams. She is pragmatic. She is proud and independent. She is always in control. She doesn’t let anyone else shape her world. She never regrets anything.
The artist uses further techniques to facilitate the viewer‘s understanding, like the isolation of figures or different layers of color, as well as the discreet sensibility of the subject. The viewer can thus create new ways of thinking about various subjects and charge his personal energy with positive perceptions. He can let himself be carried along by the wave of confidence and allow his self-awareness to profit from this experience.
On the whole, Miki’s paintings have a liveliness that is partly due to their multilayered setting. The artist uses numerous sceneries to disclose the intimate interior worlds of the Divas. The setting supports the ambiguous character. The vibrant background and the character’s intensely beautiful appearance support the idea of a narcissistic personality, while the isolated display of the figure points out her fragility. At her core, the Diva might be a fragile, self-conscious being, but this has to be perceived by every viewer on a personal level. Whether she appears colorful, extravagant, proud, relaxed or strong, she might be just as good exhausted or despondent without ever showing it. Is she proudly floating above or vulnerably balancing on the urban silhouettes? In any given scenery, the insolence remains, while a single question is being asked: How fragile is human existence on the sharp edge of a large, busy city?