Mária Švarbová was born in 1988; she currently lives in Slovakia. Despite studying restoration and archeology, her preferred artistic medium is photography. From 2010 to the present, the immediacy of Maria’s photographic instinct continues to garner international acclaim and is setting new precedents in photographic expression. The recipient of several prestigious awards (including Hasselblad Masters Award), her solo and group exhibitions have placed her among the vanguard of her contemporaries, attracting features in Vogue, Forbes, CNN, The Guardian, and publications around the world; her work is frequently in the limelight of social media. Maria’s reputation also earned her a spot on the coveted 30 under 30 Forbes list as well as a commission for a billboard-sized promotion on the massive Taipei 101 tower, in Taiwan. In 2019, Apple commissioned her to create an exclusive photography series shot by iPhone.
Mária’s distinctive style departs from traditional portraiture by focusing on experimentation with space, color, and atmosphere. Taking an interest in communist-era architecture and public spaces, Maria transforms each scene with a modern freshness that highlights the depth and range of her creative palette. Throughout her oeuvre the human body is more or less a peripheral afterthought, often portrayed as aloof and demure rather than substantive. Carefully composed figures create thematic, dream-like scenes with ordinary objects. Her images hold a silent tension that hints at emergent possibilities under the lilt of clean and smooth surfaces.
There is often a sense of cool detachment and liminality in Maria’s work. Routine actions such as exercise, doctor appointments, and domestic tasks are reframed with a visual purity that is soothing and symmetrical and at times reverberant with an ethereal stillness. The overall effect evokes a contemplative silence in an extended moment of promise and awareness—a quality difficult to achieve in the rapid pace of modern life. Maria’s postmodern vision boldly articulates a dialog that compels the viewer to respond to the mystery, loneliness, and isolation of the human experience. Nevertheless, deeply embedded within the aqueous pastels, Maria’s compositions hold to a celebratory elegance that transforms the viewer’s gaze into an enduring reverence for life’s simple beauty.