Wednesday, December 30, 2015

'Retrospective' by John Ivan Bogdanov

The final Community Project Wall exhibition of 2015 brought local artist John Ivan Bogdanov to Town Hall Gallery for the month of DecemberThe exhibition featured 47 paintings from the prolific Bogdanov, with all proceeds from sales donated to the Hawthorn Community Chest - a wonderful local charity organisation.

Installation view of Retrospective exhibition

Bogdanov's story is a compelling one, and a unique combination of almost mythic elements. A classic migrant success story he fled Macedonia in 1952 after enduring years of war and civil unrest in the region. Arriving in Australia with little but a hope for a better life he worked hard, raised a family and contributed to the development of one of the world's finest multicultural society's in Melbourne. For many years he worked in the auto-industry, including running his own successful business to support his family. He has lived in Hawthorn in the same beautiful home for 50 years. Following a stroke in his later years, he turned to painting as a way to express a driving inner need to share his visions. With no formal art training he embarked on a self-directed form of art therapy.

Assistant Curator, Dr Kent Wilson, officially launching the exhibition to an eager crowd.
Three generations of the Bogdanovic family, including John's wife Violetta (second from right),
who brought her husband's work to the attention of the gallery in 2014.
Wonderful atmosphere and interest at the opening event

Bogdanov has been churning out a relentless body of paintings ever since. Appearing as a combination of art-historical styles, from cubism to surrealism to constructivism, the paintings are a captivating and lively ensemble of colour, form and pattern. Carefully selected from the literally hundreds of paintings filling his house and shed, the exhibition offered an insight into a passionate creativity and is one of those truly amazing occasions where beauty floats freely to the surface of a complex and rich human story.

Bogdanov's paintings are imbued with numerous references to art historical styles.

At the conclusion of the show, more than 30 of the paintings had sold, raising more than $2300 for the Hawthorn Community Chest. Bogdanov's bright and colourful works were readily embraced by our patrons, many of whom were giving the artworks as gifts this Christmas. 

A house and shed full to the brim with paintings
As we say farewell to a very successful 2015 exhibition program at Town Hall Gallery, we look forward to 2016 and to bringing you another round of inspiring local talent on our Community Project Wall. We relaunch on Saturday 16 January, 2016, with Margot Westhorpe's Memory Mostly, and in the main gallery spaces we kick off our program with Reducing Landscapes: Fred Williams and John Nixon and Dialect.

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