A hyperrealistic artist based in Montreal, Ognian Zekoff uses traditional techniques to create powerful visionary artworks that portray an human emotions within his oil paintings. Zekoff is an internationally recognised artist and a master chiaroscurist, focusing on the human hand and the nude female body as his main subjects, which he masters with a three-dimensional effect.
Born in 1964 in Bulgaria, Ognian Zekoff moved to Montreal, Canada where he lives and works. He graduated from the National Art School in Sofia (1978-1983) and the National Art Academy (MFA 1985-1991). He continues the strong tradition of European art school using the technique of charcoal drawing and oil painting on canvas finding their new powerful vision and place in the contemporary art. Over the years his work has gained international recognition – He has exhibited in 22 solo shows as well as being part of over 40 group exhibitions all over Europe, North America and Asia and has received numerous international awards. He participated in many International Art Fairs including Toronto (2007, 2008, 2010, 2014), Moscow and Dubai just to name a few. Zekoff’s paintings are currently housed in important collections all around the world including the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Sofia, Bulgaria also Beijing, China, as well as the Fondation Cité des Arts in Paris, France amongst others. Zekoff explores the change in meaning that occurs as he alters the colours of his subjects, thus connecting everyday reality with an illusory world of his own creation.
Through the plethora of meaningless images that flood our daily experiences, there are very few, which we encounter, that have the ability to make a significant visual and emotional impact on us. A truly powerful image is capable of locating strong sentimental meaning deeply embedded in our memories and reviving their essence. The hyper-realistic oil paintings, created by Zekoff, instantly catch the eye of viewers and exude this rewarding sensation. They somehow arouse a state of “Feedback” or harmony between our internal needs and external demands.
It is not only Zekoff’s outstanding skill at capturing the tangible quality of human flesh that makes these paintings so incredibly life-like. Using a perfectly balanced grey-scale, the artist is a master chiaroscurist, using the effect of bright lights and dark shadows in all of his works, heightening the overall sense of drama. This three-dimensional effect creates such strong depth that the subjects seem to reach out of the canvas towards the viewer.
The hands are one of the most expressive parts of the human body. Zekoff has mastered the ability to capture what is the mood of his subject by simply portraying the hands. Their imaginative positions have an incredible emotive power and can conjure a range of states of mind such as anxiety, concern, protection and love. Life pulses from the fingertips of one figure and transfers its energy to the fingertips of another. There is a sense of innocence and longing in these representations of bare flesh. Zekoff’s figures are typically depicted in a peaceful and vulnerable state, lying somewhere in the realm between dreaming and wakefulness.
“The Conscience, Lifeline, The Flight and Feedback are synthesized pure images that create a new reality, giving the viewer the sensation of crossing the boundaries of visible space and time.”
The artist`s high-realist technique adds such a tangible quality to the viewing experience that one can almost feel the surface texture of the subject. Zekoff creates a new reality through his images that generates a feeling of crossing the boundaries between space and time. The order and repetition of forms in his compositions reflects a harmonious equilibrium. The simplicity and purity of these stimulating images exude a soothing calm as they contradict the overwhelming influx of images that saturate and convolute our everyday lives in modern society.