It is fairly rare for paintings by young artists to combine urgency with vastness. Mariana Murta’s series Embrace takes up an entire large wall in the Academy’s venue, and its impact commands the whole room. The uniformly large format of the series and its aggressive color scheme achieves the effect of light-boxes in an airport, or stained windows in a church. This association also defines the existential arena in which the paintings are set. From the neutrally optimistic environment of an aircraft interior, the painting takes us directly to the battlefield of life with all its pressures and current social problems. A paraphrase of unemotional instructional drawings demonstrating what to do in case of an accident turns into a Baconian portrayal of the female condition in contemporary reality. This is matched by a corresponding pictorial style, combining aggressively reassuring pastel tones with intense color. Sections defined by rapid brushstrokes and lines of drawing are contrasted with the minute details of almost horror movie-like deformed parts of human bodies. This introverted relentlessness strikes a chord in all of us.