By Christopher Ong
I met the artist Ana Tzarev in her Midtown gallery in the fall of 2009. She was in town briefly for the opening of her exhibition “Grace of Africa” and I managed to meet up with her just before she left for JFK, en route to Europe, and eventually, her studio on the island paradise of Phuket, Thailand. As you enter the impressive two-story glass front gallery, located at 24 West 57th Street, you’re greeted by two larger-than-life, shimmering gold Buddhas flanking the entrance. A staircase sweeping around the circular glass elevator brings you to the second floor.
Ana Tzarev, a Croatian-born artist, is extremely committed to cultural awareness and filled with vibrant energy. She grew up surrounded by Renaissance art and a centuries-old heritage. She later moved to New Zealand and Australia, and traveled widely in the Asia Pacific region. She developed a deep interest in Asian arts, particularly those of Japan and Thailand. In Spring 2009, she unveiled the exhibition “Floating World”, a that was inspired by her longstanding interest in Japanese history, culture and the arts. Tzarev also spent years studying horticulture; her passion for the subject can be seen in the brilliantly-colored floral paintings and limited edition prints throughout the gallery.
As we walked up the spiral stairs, Tzarev held my hand and she said, “Not everyone has to agree with me, the way I paint, or like every piece of my art.”
Tzarev works on many large-scale paintings, using massive amounts of pure, bright pigment, and often applies the paint with her fingers straight from the tube directly onto the canvas, creating a sculptural, impasto texture. The images are powerful and the colors are vibrant. They impart tremendous energy, rhythm and emotion.
Ana Tzarev is one of the international artists invited to design a section of the Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural which will open in Fall 2010 to celebrate the millennium anniversary of Thang Long – Ha Noi (1010-2010). The design is based on paintings to be featured in a solo exhibition of Ana Tzarev’s works at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum opening in September, 2010.
We developed a strong bond despite the fact that we had just met. Tzarev invited me to return for her May 2010 exhibition in New York; she said it is going to be one of her most important exhibits. I left the gallery inspired by her vision, colors and energy.
Gallery Contact Info:
Ana Tzarev Gallery
24 West 57th St. New York, NY 10019
212 586 9800