Vertical-abstract Revelation at Stubel Gallery

Stubel Gallery opened on 22 April 2015 with Atanas Parushev – Shoka’s exhibition “Abstract”.  The gallery’s name, as owner Rossitza Dogandjieva explains, is an old Bulgarian word, meaning a hollowed out log through which spring water runs. The gallery has an excellent interior, the light entering from opposite sides and allowing rays of sunlight to sneak in throughout the day.

Atanas Parushev is a master of painting whose name is well known within Bulgarian art society and abroad. The present exhibition is a great choice for the gallery’s opening, as Atanas’ works also resemble a wellspring, one that spurts, spreads, caries its colorful current, shimmers and drags one all the way through.With supreme verve, the artist turns his works into multilayered, masterful paintings – his brush plays, stops, and dips, disappearing into the dark and deep spaces from which rise vast, stained-glass-like fields.

At first glance, it appears as though the artist spontaneously and expressively, in one breath, lays out both the form and the space, inspiring persuasiveness, directness and a charge of energy. But once the spectator takes a closer look at his works, he will find an abundance of colorful layers, overlaid during the imaginative process. He will understand that every emphatic brush stroke is the result of meticulous research during all the stages of creation process. One could say that the search for and discovery of spatial linear vertical structures, which are in contrast with the dark and saturated colorful spaces, are truly and emphatically expressed by Atanas, who has absolute confidence in his message. Once aware of these verticals, the viewer will eye them with curiosity and attention, surrendering to the magic they radiate – proof of the artist’s sincerity.

Atanas’ works carry the effect of a symphony, where besides the polyphonic rhythm, one can hear the notes of a violin, piano, flute or drums. In them, we can find not only the exciting voluminous pictorial forms, but also the intricacy of the detail, embodied in the vertical traces of the brush, its spots, the wisps of overflowing paint, the sprays of color.

The impetuous energy of the red, the burning passion of the carmine, the spirituality of the blue, the peace and coolness of the green are all combined with the monochromic spaces of the blue silver, situated in a beautiful mixture with black, white, the basic and adjunct colors. All that is visible in artist’s works: Blue Silver I and II, Diptych I, II and III, Verticals I, II, III, IV, V.

As we all know, Atanas Parushev is a consummate artist, equally skillful in abstract art and realistic composition. In the latter, his works adopt highly detailed hyperrealism, impressionist impulse, the power of expressionism, the enigma of surrealism, as portraits, landscapes, and figural compositions. Clearly, the excellent results and persuasiveness of his paintings are not only an outcome of talent and serious work, but also the result of deep exploration and synthesis of form and space.

This is the key to the mastership and forcefulness of Atanas Parushev’s works, which present compositions whose protagonists could be water and earth, light and shadow, cast in natural performances with the curtain wide open or just slightly ajar, which touch the soul of the curious spectator who contemplates all of this.

Atanas is like his paintings – talented, protean, unpredictable, humane, at moments smiling innocently like a child, at others ironically sarcastic. I have no idea where he is at that moment – in Sliven, Ichera, Sofia or somewhere else, but I do believe that he never stops looking for that painting he could not bear not to paint.


Iva Vladimirova

New Bulgarian University, Sofia