exhibition of paintings
03. – 22.06.2021
Opening reception– Thursday, 03.06.2021, 6:30 PM
From June 3, 2021 Largo Gallery will present for the fourth time the beloved artist from Plovdiv Iliya Zhelev. After his solo exhibitions at Largo in 2008, 2013 and 2019 and his joint show with Nedko Itinov in 2009, Iliya will once again delight the Varna audience and his fans with his latest paintings.
Iliya is one of the most well represented contemporary Bulgarian artists abroad. His exhibitions abroad are in total more than those in his native land. Why is that? What makes gallery owners, art critics, collectors in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Luxembourg appreciate, seek and buy his art, despite the fact that it comes from Bulgaria, the small country almost missing on the map of modern times? European art? The mystery can be solved quickly if we have the cance to get to know the man Iliya Zhelev, the artist Zhelev and his paintings.
The man is fast and dynamic, a workaholic and demanding of himself and his work - a typical Western European in mentality and character. He is energetic and explosive, searching and experimenting, inspiring and different with each painting. His paintings are colorful and with bold color contrasts, intimate like the embrace of a loved one, rhythmic and pulsating like a heart, cosmopolitan, but also reminiscent to his homeland.
Iliya is loved by the audience for his ability to change, evolve, and surprise. In recent years, he has developed with incredible skill his cycle of works, created as a digital photo mosaic, consisting of thousands of small images, which he has specially selected by theme, color and shape. He arranges these mini images next to each other, collages, processes, prints and finally paints on the canvas, applying spots and smears on the work, giving it life and soul. The topics are the hectic streets of the big city, the pulsations of everyday life, the famous artists, who have become idols for generations. Modern, with an experimental spirit, these mosaics seek in the viewer his connection with the world, his tendency to change, to compare with others and to benefit from it. For the first time the Varna audience saw works from this cycle in the exhibition of Iliya Zhelev "I love New York" in Largo gallery in 2019. The current exhibition will also include works from the series dedicated to the streets of New York, the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the beauty of the big city.
Of course, fans of Iliya will also be delighted to see his traditional compositions, significant for his work, consisting of numerous miniatures, harmoniously united in one whole. They often encode the root Bulgarian, which Iliya never forgets and always emphasizes in his appearances abroad. Thus, in the paintings the viewer will discover the colorful houses of Old Plovdiv, the bright colors of Bulgarian embroidery, the soft green of our mountains, the fiery gold of our fields, the boundless blue of our homeland, the white piers, small children riding bicycles, the cottages from our memories. You, the viewer, will feel comfortable in Iliya's paintings, as if you were in your childhood years, so warm and heart-warming that it even a tear flickers on the edge of your eyelid, ready to fall momentarily and burn a trace in your soul.
The opening reception of the exhibition with the participation of the artist is on June 3, 2021 at 6:30 PM in Largo Art Gallery in Varna, 8 Han Krum Str. The exhibition lasts until June 22. You can read more about the artist in the "Artists" section of the site.
Nelly Valcheva, gallery owner
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