Exhibition on Display: March 15th, 2022 – April 23, 2022
In-Person Reception: March 19, 2022
Virtual Reception: March 24, 2022
Alfa Art Gallery invites you to escape into the fantastical world of resident artist Vesselin Kourtev’s oil paintings in his solo exhibition “Phantasia: Expressions of Love.” The themes of fantasy and allure are staples in the artwork of Bulgarian-born artist Vesselin Kourtev. In the selection of artworks on view in his upcoming solo exhibition, Kourtev draws from both the realm of reality (from his own personal and emotional experiences) and the realm of fantasy. Experimenting with otherworldly colors, abstract symbols, and dream-like imagery, Kourtev’s art allows viewers to enter into his imagination and to access realms of their own fantastical imaginings.
Throughout his artwork, Kourtev utilizes a vibrant palette of pastel colors that work to transport viewers into technicolor worlds of their imagination. In each of his individual canvases, Kourtev overlays meticulously-drawn abstract human figures over lighter pastels and darker colors. The hints of darker colors and shadows in his work recall the darker emotions of turmoil and sadness, while the brilliant rainbow of pastels recall the joys and pleasures of human connection. In these selected artworks, Kourtev manipulates oil paint to make it look transparent and to develop his own one-of-a-kind style that is a blend of different painterly techniques. Unlike the usage of collage as seen in Kourtev’s previous exhibitions, this collection focuses on the artist’s mastery of the technique of embedding figures into color schemes formed by dark and pastel shades, as well as focuses on showcasing his skill in rendering emotion through capturing human facial expressions that prompt us to guess at the unknown stories of the abstract characters illustrated.
“Phantasia: Expressions of Love” also features a collection of Kourtev’s smaller brightly colored canvases entitled “Noise in the Ear”, which are further explorations in abstraction and surrealist colorism. Kourtev’s artworks are intended to be open-ended, and are subject to much interpretation: Ultimately, Kourtev wants the viewer to determine their own interpretation of his art and take what meaning resonates with them. Kourtev has an immense amount of experience as a professional fine arts artist, and has participated in countless one-man shows and exhibitions. His travels throughout both America and Europe and his cross-cultural identity have influenced both the way he views the world as well as how he perceives his artistic practice. We invite you to walk through Vesselin Kourtev’s collection, and to take a voyage into the whimsical world of his artworks that blur the lines between reality and fantasy.
Gallery Opening Reception:
Considering our new norms as a country, the in-person opening reception is a VIP and invitation-only event which efficiently limits the capacity for the gallery. However, Alfa Art Gallery will be holding a virtual opening reception which is an open event. The links to this opening can be found on Alfa Art Gallery’s Website and all social media closer to the exhibition opening.
Alfa’s staff and interns are working to keep all visitors safe and healthy. We have implemented safety measures along with the CDC guidelines. These include wearing face masks indoors, maintaining limited capacity, and providing a clean and safe environment.
Vesselin Kourtev is the founder and Head Art Director of the Alfa Art Gallery, as well as the gallery’s resident artist. The Bulgarian-born artist Kourtev studied at the Fine Art School in Kazanlak and earned a Master’s in Fine Arts from the University of Veliko, Turnovo. In his native country of Bulgaria, he also worked at the National School of Stage and Film Design in Plovdiv.
Kourtev’s work has been exhibited globally at a multitude of galleries and art fairs, and has earned an honorable mention from various books, websites, and articles. Kourtev has collaborated with other artists and creators like author Virginia DeBerry and her partner Donna Grant on a variety of interdisciplinary projects. Working primarily with the medium of painting, Kourtev’s aesthetic practice is defined by his interest in experimenting with abstraction and illusionism. Kourtev cites Roman architecture and Byzantine mosaics as partial inspirations for his intensely colorist work that often borders on the surreal.
In the paintings on view in “Phantasia: Expressions of Love”, Kourtev has developed a unique painting style of his own, employing his own individualized technique to manipulate oil paint to appear to be almost translucent and to imitate the visual effects of watercolor. In these works, Kourtev draws from both his reality and the realm of fantasy to create dream-like, abstract landscapes of pastel colors that feature fragmented depictions of human figures. The works in this show possess a distinctly narrative quality, and appear to capture and plumb the depths of such intense human emotions as love and joy. These canvases celebrate the beauty of human connection and love through an otherworldly phantasmagoria of colors and mysterious organic forms. These oil paintings provoke a strong emotional response in viewers, prompting them to contemplate the works in depth and encouraging viewers to draw their own interpretations of the works’ meaning.
2022 Vesselin Kourtev Solo Exhibition, “Phantasia: Expressions of Love”
About the “New Brunswick Art Salon” Exhibitions:
Alfa Art Gallery utilizes New Brunswick Art Salons (NBAS) to unify the local art community and beyond. Since starting the program in 2010 Alfa Gallery has made a point of including a salon dedicated solely to photography. Over the years, the NBAS has not only exhibited works by both established and emerging artists but has also made fruitful connections locally and internationally through its successful programs. Within this non-profit organization, Alfa Art Gallery maintains its mission to uplift artists by providing an open and innovative environment. These exhibitions are free and open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
NBAS’2021 is sponsored by:
With the assistance of grants from organizations such as Amboy Bank, Magyar Bank, Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick City Center, Middlesex County Cultural, Heritage Commission, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Pfizer Inc., Alfa Art is confident that all who come to the 2020 Oil Painting New Brunswick Art Salon will leave with a greater appreciation of the arts and the gallery’s showcasing of a variety of artists.