The first floor of Maria Soboleva’s red brick home transformed into a space for the opening of her solo exhibition Friday, filled with friends, family, neighbors and — of course — her art.

From Oct. 19 through 22, Soboleva’s Potomac home showcased the work in her exhibition, “Pinks, Blues, & Beginnings.” 

Soboleva graduated from this university with a studio art degree and a human development minor this past spring. As an art student, she explored mediums ranging from sculpture to drawing, even working as a woodshop monitor.

“I felt like I gained a lot of knowledge and a huge sense of community, which, now graduating, I can really appreciate,” Soboleva said. “Being surrounded by creative people working on their projects really pushes you to work on yours.”

Soboleva said that the university exposed her to a whole new world of art and opened her eyes to processes she continues to use in her present work. She went from working with familiar mediums to doing projects on still lifes and experimenting with abstract work. 

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She started her art journey as a child in an after-school program where she created crafts for holidays like Halloween or Valentine’s Day. While she started with small crafts, art was always part of her roots, she said.  

“The reason why I kept going was because my grandma would always say, ‘Your grandfather was an artist,’ and I never met my grandfather because he died when my mom was 5,” Soboleve said. “It was always like, ‘Oh, this family member who me and my mom both don’t know very well, but my mom and my grandmother were convinced that I got those genes from him.”

For Soboleva’s friend Mary Mena, Soboleva successfully connects viewers to her family history and Russian background through her art. 

Soboleva creating her own exhibition was an inspiration, Mena said.

“She’s worked so hard and obviously she’s stepping out of this shell from the artists’ world — just not taking no for an answer, just doing it herself because she can,” said Mena, a senior studio art major at the university. “Oh man, I admire that so much.”

When Soboleva was in school, Steven Jones, her professor in the university’s art department, told her if she wanted to host a show, she could save money and do it at her house instead of a gallery.

She hadn’t thought about the concept of a house show before that, she said, but put Jones’ words of advice to last weekend with her exhibition.

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Soboleva’s former professor Jowita Wyszomirska said applying for shows and being in gallery situations can be intimidating.

“I remember myself being in those shoes after my undergrad. I felt kind of isolated after attempting to get some shows and getting rejections,” said Wyszomirska, a senior art lecturer at the university. “I really applaud Maria for what she’s doing instead of trying to depend on establishments that are out there to show her work.” 

The process to create this exhibition was a team effort by both Soboleva and her mom. They cleaned out parts of their home, chose which of her pieces go where and created flyers among more preparation.

The solo exhibition shows her ever-expanding collection of work. The title, ‘Pinks, Blues, & Beginnings,’ is an ode not only to Soboleva’s art, but herself and her life post-grad. 

“For me, pink is the reassurance of totality in the sense that in all living things, we have this continuance of life. It is an abstract ideal of movement, and color and depth. Those are my pinks, this very idealistic, powerful love for life,” Soboleva said. “My blues are the acknowledgment that I am an individual with personal struggles, and I am anxious and afraid.”Soboleva created many of the pieces using cyanotype, a cameraless photographic printing technique using UV light that often leaves a faded image. The fadedness of cyanotype alongside the blues represent memories, individuality and history to Soboleva, she said.