Bulgarian artist Ognyan Kostov Kolev’s tradition-bound process depicts his visions of the Biblical iconography he was raised with. Varnishing in gold leaf he details the contours of each halo adorning every angelic figure with individual rays. A labor intensive process, stemming from the Byzantine era, he prepares the canvas accordingly and applies multiple glazes to achieve a translucency, giving depth to the painted surface. This complicated technique grants the viewer with a sense of the ethereal atmosphere these icons occupy.
Discovering these figures in his grandmother’s missal, his interest began when he was very young. Since then, his curiosity lead him to study the technique of egg and tempera paint on wood. His practice extends to still life and portraiture, where he uses a similar process, which is apparent through his use of light and shadow, an element that remains consistent throughout the works. The expressive faces and shaping of bodies illustrated through the figures, whether they be God-like or animal, give character and animate life within the stillness of the scene. Ranging from pastoral imagery to urban cityscapes within a single image, he updates the style to suit the narrative life of contemporary society.