Some artists strive to involve their audience in a relationship that is more intimate than vision alone permits. Such artists create artworks which assume through their very essence the explicit form and content required of them to confer their unique meaning. But the most effective and compelling artworks of all are those that make explicit the fact that they are made to directly affect the spirit.

So it is that Ivo Stoyanov takes my breath away. He coaxes our eyes and heads into that transcendental place, a simultaneously light and dark place, where he firmly believes that art, and especially art about the natural world, shakes hands with spirit.

His extreme reduction to visual and pictorial essentials is responsible for that magical quality we can discern so clearly as negative space, an ideal notion to capture the essence of what makes a Stoyanov image so mesmerizing. It is the essence of absence. And the breath of the mind is what it takes away, submitting us to the silence of seeing.

Here in Stoyanov’s tranquil images are some of the pivotal motifs in art history: The Land. The Sea. The Sky. The Inhabitants. The Invisible. He skillfully merges these pictorial motifs within a single picture plane, superimposing them in a way that makes us part of the land itself rather than mere spectators. He shows us the sublime rather than merely suggesting it.

A painter such as Stoyanov is so captivating because hi is producing something dramatically different: Mindscapes. Mindscapes which are nonetheless tangible and visceral evidence of our physical existence in space and time. Mindscapes which are in fact complex conceptual responses to the landscape in all its facets, both physical and psychological.

These recent paintings are maps of an invisible territory which only exists in the geography of the imaginations. In Stoyanov’s hands, the art of the land seems to undergo a kind alchemical transformation, one in which he can reveal what seems to me to be a most important contribution to the ongoing pastoral dialogue: painting as a process to represent the process of painting itself. He revels in his revelation, and we are invited to participate in both the extended reverie his work triggers and the spiritual transaction it represents.

Visit Ivan’s website to see even more of his amazing work.

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