Ilia Petkov

Detail of Horses XII

Ilia Petkov, a Bulgarian artist, shows a wide range of style and themes in this group of etchings from various phases of his prolific career.

Many of Petkov's subjects are instantly recognizable. Horses and people, full of life and energy leap across the pages. Other compositions use layered imagery from history and mythology to convey the artist's ideas.

Although the styles vary, all of the works take a fluid, painterly approach to etching. Instead of rigid lines, we see a variety of marks, shading and textures that show the artist's hand. Some resemble ink paintings, others look like pastel or charcoal.

These works represent Mr. Petkov's fifth exhibition in Washington D.C.

What follows are brief statements from the artist on the nature of some of the pieces.

"Atlantis II"
There are innumerable stories in this lost civilization, including events, dreams, and hopes that were washed away in catastrophe. Whether allegorical or historical, the story of Atlantis has modern significance.

"Young Horse"
This young colt is full of life, energy, and possibility. so is the young boy. there is a cheerfulness to life in both.

"Movement V"
These are the lines and shapes of life's dynamic motion.

These horses convey man's vigorous, yet unsuccessful, attempts to tame nature.

The innocence and beauty of nature.

"Memory XX"
This is a self portrait of my imagined old age. The horse has inspired me throughout my life. There are other figures in the etching that are also meaningful to me as an artist.

The ancient Bulgarian village of Melnik, where its primitive roots are celebrated in a pagan holiday. The atavistic nature of this celebration recalls the sacrifice of goats to the Gods to scare away evil.

The power of voice and song. The reach of music into our lives and into the heavens.

"Horses XX"
I used four plates for this etching, picturing the close, spiritual relationship between humans and horses in the top right plate, and the roads traveled by man and horse in the top left plate. Horses are powerful, graceful, proud animals. They have been a soul-mate for humans, enabling our progress and freedom. Horses are also symbols of strength and endurance. They have been our partners through eons of time, assisting in the difficult tasks we establish for ourselves.

"Horses XII"
Horses in their natural state.

A modern x-ray of a chest is the background for a kaleidoscope of allegorical images.

Our lives are like star charts or constellations. We look up into the heavens and see forms and stories in the stars. We use these stars to navigate by, yet they often lead us in opposite directions. Life may give us complete opposition, or combinations of inescapable things joined together. And, from within our lives, we look outward, guided by our readings of these star maps, searching for our destination. The star charts harmonize opposed ideas.

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History Horses XII Young Horse Nature Horses Atlantis II The Stone House Kovatchevitza Fly II Thracia Legend Kuneri Movement V Memory (long) Song II Worry II Memory XX Horses XX Song Perspective Memory III Movement Love Cycle 1923 Village Three Birds Fish
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