Israeli Glass Artist Sergey Bunkov Marries Bold Images With Delicate Texture

Bold/delicate, fragile/strong, rough/smooth, opaque/ transparent, shiny/matte.Using glass as his canvas, Israeli artist Sergey Bunkov explores the dynamic tension of opposites in his vivid figurative works on display now through Sept. 15 at Thomas R.

Riley Galleries in Eton Chagrin Blvd.

The hallmark of Bunkov's paintings are simple, flattened figures, strongly outlined in black. Only a few details suggest their gender. Full of color and life, his subjects are often depicted eating and drinking. The artist says he is making a philosophical point with these robust images playing out happy scenes on a fragile medium.

"To me, this shows that the world is fragile and we have to hold onto happiness,” Bunkov explains. "It could be gone in a second.”

Bunkov's work is rife with symbolism, drawn from diverse sources including Russian mythology, the kabbalah, and modern life. Favorite symbols include scissors, birds, playing cards and whiskey bottles. He never titles his paintings, he says, because he wants the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions.

"If an artist is gifted, he doesn't need to title a work,” says Bunkov. "A picture is visual; a title is literature.”

Even the techniques Bunkov uses to create his works require opposing skills. Because he uses heavy industrial equipment to incise his images on sheets of glass that are a mere 7 millimeters thick, he needs both a strong hand and a delicate touch.

Bunkov explains that he begins a painting by gluing a rough drawing of the composition to the front of the glass. This sketch guides him in the etching process, which is done mostly on the reverse side. Bunkov favors strong hues - blues, reds, oranges and golds - to color the larger elements of his paintings. The special transparent paint he uses (also applied on the reverse) gives his works a striking vibrancy. To create an intriguing juxtaposition of textures, Bunkov will often paint details on the front of the glass in matte metallic paint.

"The natural elements of my compositions are painted on the reverse to represent the depth of the spiritual world; the superficial objects painted on the front represent the material world,” he explains.

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600450 Israeli Glass Artist Sergey Bunkov Marries Bold Images With Delicate Texture
Date: 21 August 2006

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