Ava Fedorov


The idea of loss and disappearance as it relates to the natural world and the climate crisis is a paradox: even as science proves the ecological threat is both intimate and universal, that very threat essentially becomes abstract. Reflective of this existential duplicity, all of the paintings in this body of work are large, abstract diptychs. My art practice embraces the necessary diametric experience of nature and climate cataclysm in order to offer pathways of understanding, collective mourning, and conceptual adaptation and reevaluation. I use both lyricism and abstraction to conjure the inverted pain of only realizing the vast importance of something (in this case, life on earth as we know it) the moment it vanishes.

The fragmentation of this awareness is demonstrated in the physical and implied layering in my paintings. Embedded topographies portray the concept of landscape as both the historical and the emotionally cognitive embodiment of anthropogenic damage. Beyond a means of navigation and documentation, this Atlas expresses the overlaid arrangements that comprise transforming landscapes. Looming shadows, ghost formations, cascading light, and torn paper cutouts conjure entities that are diachronically expressed—still fathomable and tangible while also being irretrievably lost.

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Entangled and Ensnared  [and details]
66" x 48" and 64" x 48"
Acrylic, chalk, colored pencil on canvas

Shadowtime and Epoquetude  [and details]
120" x 168"
Acrylic, paper collage, and graphite on canvas

From Above, From Within, Drench the Fires that Chase Us  [and details]
96" x 65"
Acrylic, tape, ink, graphite, and chalk on canvas


My deepest gratitude goes to my Thesis Committee, Debra Drexler, Scott Groeniger, and Kate Lingley. I could not have imagined a better group of brilliant artists and scholars to guide me over the past three years.

I also acknowledge my outstanding cohort, Nanea Lum and JennaMacy: two phenomenal women and artists. Their creative fierceness kept me motivated and their friendship kept me nourished. This final year in of my MFA has also been the year of the pandemic. Despite the anxiety, despair, and continuous unpredictability of these times, my ability to achieve artistic success and growth was not compromised. That has everything to do with the incredible community around me—my family and friends—and for them I will be forever grateful.

The research and creation of this body of work took place on Hawaiian sovereign lands that are illegally occupied by the United States. I acknowledge that the privilege of receiving my MFA at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa is predicated upon historical systems of the oppression. I commit to facing this history and seeing it as a call-to-action to use my education to give back to the islands of Hawai'i and to the global community of our island earth.


AVA FEDOROV (BA in film, Bard College; MA in illustration, FIT) is a Honolulu-based visual artist, writer, activist, and educator who is originally from a remote region of Upstate New York. With a background that also includes design and film, Ava pulls from all realms of her creative knowledge to create immersive art experiences that blur the lines of genre. Her work has been exhibited, collected, and published internationally and she has been honored to collaborate with artists and art institutions across the world. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and a PEN America award and she is a two-time John Young Scholar in the Arts awardee. Ava teaches studio art at Hawai‘i Pacific University and is the founder and president of CICADA (CICADA) an organization committed to amplifying the creative response to environmental justice and the climate crisis.

See more at AvaFedorov.com

All exhibition photographs by Chris Rohrer @thunderhug