Perceived and transfigured by an outstanding painterly talent, nature explodes on the canvases of Ekaterina Vorona in every possible angling of light, light becomes matter which at the same time, given the sophisticated beauty of line and color, reveals its deepest and most spiritual essence. The artist explores water in particular, in every conceivable variation of color and light, penetrating marine depths and murky currents, sketching liquid skeletons in the caprices of spurting fountains (which for the artist symbolize “the constrained existence of water within the city”), in rivers or canals passing beneath monumental bridges, in foaming wa- terfalls, in wintertime ice crystals, in the enigmatic stillness of a pond, in the vortex of ocean waves beneath which similar, multicolored vortexes of fish are swirling. Vorona captures with a masterly touch the brilliant scales of these darting creatures, their baroque movements, their primeval energy. The ideal gallery of this young Moscow painter includes the element of water among its leitmotifs, along with her beloved landscapes with figures. Her most recent work shows an interesting development in the direction of a freer, more informal gesture, a new sense of the material, while never betraying her original inspiration. This development is especially evident in the transition from out-of-doors painting to the closed space of the studio, and “influenced by the most abstract form of art — music.” Artists’ work is often associated with “uncontrolled” inspiration, unpredictable and almost shattering. In reality, things are far more structured, as will become clear for whoever enters the pictorial world of Ekaterina Vorona and yields to its lure. She frequently accompanies shape and color with written reflections which are anything but banal. Above all, one senses that, for an artist following a similarly tormented creative path, painting is the very essence of life. Her creative work sets in motion many aspects of this painter’s personality and is indissolubly rooted in her complex and profound spirit, nourished on culture and a love of the beautiful, undeniably romantic. A first link, underlined by Ekaterina herself, is with music — referred to in many titles, such as Impromptu or Lento con gran espressione (2014) and Music of the Evening (2015). Hence her burning, headstrong dream of “creating paintings worthy of the greatest pages of music.” And indeed, with Vorona these two forms of art had a parallel development as if, deep down, they were indistinguishable. “Color, like tonality in music,” she writes, “brings with it a system of symbols which runs very deep. For example, Bach in his Well-Tempered Clavier interprets religious and philosophical content through particular, specific keys, so that the Prelude and Fugue in C major (Volume 1) is linked to the ‘annunciation’ cycle, while the Prelude and Fugue in D minor is linked to the image of the Last Supper, and so on.” Color, in Vorona’s work, especially when as so often she deploys the difficult, unusual medium of pastels, attaining in- credible levels of transparency and softness, constantly vibrates with different sonorities and tonalities, just like the notes of a musical score. Her range extends from the crystalline clarity of Summer Dream (2015) to the stormy, deep chords of Nocturne, via the warm tones of Golden Rainbow (2014) and the changing, mutable Sparkle of the Carnival (2015). The latter, with its Japanese style (employed in another Venice painting, Grand Canal, and in Summer Evening on Krasnopresnenskaya Embankment (2009)), proposes an intense, incomparable night scene, in which the gondolas fail to dominate, as so often happens with paintings of this sort. The hero of the work, alter ego of the lagoon city, is water with its infinite shades and tremors, capturing the beauty and the mystery of Venice. Here the author becomes “audience and director” of life’s theatre, embodied for our eyes in all its poetic intensity. If painting transforms the real, then night is the perfect moment for such transformations. It is no accident that Vorona should have dedicated these lines to it: “A nocturne is a nighttime melody, a twilight song, born some time out of a predawn prayer. / Night is the time of metamorphosis of space and time...” Nocturne, Night. Radiance, Night. Silence Has Fallen, Party, all dating from 2013, offer the skillfully orchestrated movements of a single symphony, reproducing the magic of the universe by means of different tonalities which reflect not just light, but above all emotions and mental states. And yet, with Ekaterina Vorona, so attentive to the beauty which surrounds her, first and foremost in her native Russia, while not forgetting what she has experienced in her travels around the world (Thailand Morning. Lotus Flower (2008); Melody of the Morning. Villa Borghese (2012); Grand Canal, Gold of Vienna, Sakura (2015)), what matters most in art is creating an alternative reality, far from the visible reality our eyes perceive. This may seem a paradox, given the way in which viewers, captivated by the splendor, intensity and density of her colors, the harmony of lines and light effects, the atmosphere of Vorona’s paintings, identify and see themselves in what the canvas or paper presents. If the resultant empathy between viewer and artist is so direct and unconstrained, the answer lies in the creative and emotional freedom which underpins Ekaterina Vorona’s painting. If, as was said above, her preferred themes are mainly linked to nature, to a dialogue with nature not even life in a me- tropolis like Moscow can interrupt (“The wind, the air, a snatch of the sky seen through a window, to me all this rep- resents nature, inspiring me, making me one with the world”), her inexhaustible vein of painting draws on her most in- timate qualities, continually in dialogue with a soul which cannot find peace, because invariably aiming at perfection and spiritual elevation. She experiences the natural gift which makes her such a consummate, sensitive artist on two levels, almost as a dichotomy, afraid she may “not match up to it”, facing each new painting as a challenge. The consequence is a “hand to hand” fight with the incandescent matter of her inspiration, issuing in an onward progress, an uninterrupted motion which can appropriately be symbolized by the constant movement of the waves. We find in Vorona’s work not the elegantly traced waves of Hokusai, but rather the ocean waves of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, romantic and sublime, fascinating, often disturbing, always magical. Some more “figurative” works, like Helicopter (2014), Racing Each Other and Moving the Wave (both 2015), show a human figure interacting with the sea, which overshadows it yet welcomes it. I like to believe that Ekaterina, portraying in these oils so rich in color and beauty her son as he plays unthinkingly amidst the waves, brought two loves together, using an element she has so often studied and painted to give material form to her own inspiration, caressed and nourished by water, its unending motion.