Boyan: The Vivid Eye

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • February 25, 2009

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Boyan: The Vivid Eye at Andrea Meislin Gallery.
Andrea Meislin Gallery

Andrea Meislin Gallery is pleased to introduce Boyan, a Bulgarian-born artist who currently lives and works in New York. Curated by Roy Brand, The Vivid Eye will be the artist's New York gallery debut show. An opening reception will be held on March 4th from 6 - 8 pm.

The Vivid Eye will include a group of new canvases exploring the depiction of emotional states through the careful release and withholding of visual and conceptual clues. In a style that lurks back to that of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), and in particular to the branch of this movement that is called Verism, with its biting, penetrating realism.

Boyan's paintings are caught in stillness; they include no action and tell no story. The image pulsates in the interval beatings of the heart, as mere presence that lingers between life and death. The title The Vivid Eye references Edgar Allan Poe's famous short story "The Tell-Tale Heart" in which a mad (but all too rational) narrator relates a murder he committed. His victim is an old man with a painfully penetrating gaze that drives him insane. Boyan's paintings, likewise, induce the eerie sensation that they are looking at us. The gaze is turned; we disappear in their presence and become the mirror by which they see themselves.

These are portraits for our time and of our times. The personalities are unknown and their individual lives are unimportant. For the most part, the paintings are done from found photographs. Like August Sander's images, they present people as types- grotesque, distorted, nightmarish, but also touchingly human and intimate. This is not satire but realist reportage: we know these types, they are all around us, and they are part of us.

The making of portraits from photographs is an attempt to render them human again. But their lives are caught in between two worlds; they exist in a threshold- between the private and the public, the intimate and the banal. They are both victims and victimizers; creatures of a fallen and decadent world that still harbor the potential for transcendent beauty and purity. The paintings do two things at once- they reclaim the individual from the brutality of the impersonal while at the same time showing how such escape is impossible. These gripping portraits hold a mirror to the last gasps of a glittering yet fatally doomed life. At times, the paintings invite a reading as if they were fortune cards. We might see in them fate or the inerasable marks of character. They seem to stand in the light of judgment, they are not yet condemned but awaiting a decision, one that concerns their happiness.

Boyan had a one-person exhibition of paintings at Sommer Gallery in Tel Aviv in 2004 and 2007. In 2007 he was also the subject of a solo exhibition at the Herzliya Biennale. His work has been included in numerous prestigious group exhibitions abroad and this is his first exhibition in the United States.

Andrea Meislin Gallery
526 West 26th Street, Suite 214
New York, New York

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