Maria Kostareva spends her days watching the passersby, searching for different interpretations of life and the fullness of being. By painting ordinary, unknown bodies, solitory or at momentary crossroads, Kostareva reconstructs the melancholy of the passerby with a tenderness and ease in her brushstrokes. Her paintings do not unfold a story but chase the value of minor moments. Inspired by her move from a rural area to the city greatly influenced the formation of the artist’s aesthetic viewpoint. Being an outside observer, she formed her own understanding of the position of people within urban spaces and was able to focus her art practice on making those mundane spaces and actions of daily urban experiences the subjects of her work. Even casual passers-by of Moscow’s many underpasses secure a place in her memory as bearers of meaning.


In an attempt to cope with the hectic pace of a big city, Maria strives for mindfulness through capturing and bringing to life those images that we normally endure only for a short while. She seeks harmony between humankind and urban architecture, similar to the unity with nature. The composition of her works is based on the principle of an accidental photo. The figures appear on the canvas, just as they would to a human eye, only partly. The images do not unfold into a narrative: they are nothing but the moments appropriated from eternity.


Maria uses contrasting elements to convey the pulsation of his endless dance the figures and the space are engaged in: forming a single whole one moment, taking distance from each other the next. Maria does not draw from nature and the entire work has been done from memory. “This way I ensure that the forms, having been appropriated and in a way transformed by my memory, have become my own,” she says.


Formerly a graphic designer, since 2017, she is a full-time artist. Maria holds a Bachelor of Arts History (Moscow State University of Arts named after Surikov) and a Master of Visual Culture (National Research University Higher School of Economics). 



2017- 2019 Master of Visual Culture, National Research University Higher School of Economics

2012- 2016 Bachelor of Art History, Surikov Moscow State Academy Art Institute

2007-2010 Graphic design, Moscow Publishing and Printing College

2005-2007 State College of Arts, Yelets, Russia 

Solo/Duo Exhibitions

2023 Maria Kostareva Maybaum Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2021 The Golden Room, Curatorial+Co, Sydney

2020 SONDER, Art&Brut Gallery, Moscow

2019 One-artwork exhibition, Between Windows Gallery, Moscow

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Darlings, Curatorial+Co, Sydney

2020 Darlings, Curatorial+Co, Sydney

2020 Adjacent Spaces, Azot Gallery, Moscow

2020 Camp, Who/Am Gallery, Moscow

2020 Here With Me, Curatorial+Co, Sydney

2019 Look at Yourself, Azot Gallery, Moscow

2019 Where we once were someone, Young Space, online

2018 Metro. Blue, Izmailovo Gallery, Moscow

2018 Presence, Curatorial+Co, Sydney

2018 Home/Street, K35 Art Gallery, Moscow

2018 30 Under 30, Viridian Artists, New York

2017 Start in Art, K35 Art Gallery, Moscow

2016 Christmas Auction Sample Art, Triumph Gallery, Moscow

2016 Petit, Emerge Gallery & Art Space, New York

2016 Paper Works, Upstream Gallery, New York


2015 Sound Visualization, WeART Gallery, Moscow

2014 Open Studio en Can Serrat, Barcelona


Art Fairs / Biennale

2017 Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair, Royal Arsenal Riverside, London

2015 Parallel program of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art


Awards / Prizes

2019 Honorable Mention | Art Olympia International Open Art Competition, Tokyo

2017 Winner | Start in Art Competition, K35 Art Gallery, Moscow

2015 Honorable Mention | Young Talents of Image, FPMAG



2014 Can Serrat Artistic Activity Center, Barcelona