The Cycles of Vesselin Kourtev:

Lifted 2020

2020 brought on many changes to the world, reflected in Kourtev’s 2020 cycle of works. While still holding true to his recognizable style of abstract and pastel scenes, there is a visible change in the focus of the works, centering more on the subtle relationships between the ghost-like figures in the paintings. Couples react to one another’s touch, groups engage in wordless conversation, and a repeated female figure stands out as a prominent representation of female authority and power. There are repeated feminine motifs in the moon, flora and fauna, and strings of pearls. The space of each canvas is also considered, as bodily characters seem to struggle to find a place within the flat, colored fog. 

Personal Dissections 2019

Vesselin combines the detail and realism of his charcoal drawings with bold watercolor abstractions in perfect balance in the cycle Personal Dissections.The subject matter is complemented with thoughtful and deliberate splashes of color that add a sense of harmonious dynamism to each piece.The combination of both representational and abstract elements in each piece in captures both the viewer’s eye and mind as they find each meaning. Both accessible and elusive, Personal Dissections is a journey for artist and audience alike. 

Life’s Mission 2013

Vesselin transforms his traditional style by infusing his works with photographic images. With the mixture of watercolor, charcoal, and photographs, Vesselin awakens various dimensions of the human mind. Narratives unfold through a transition of a comprehensible reality into an abstract realm.

The Message 2011

Here, Vesselin’s signature charcoal figures are narrated by color. The tone of each piece is designated by a smoky blend of various colors. In addition, the utilization of nudity generates a sense of something being revealed. At large, he uses a simple, yet expressive, arrangement of color and clearly detailed charcoal figures to convey his message.

Halloween 2011

Vesselin incorporates the spirit of Halloween into the atmosphere of this cycle. He uses seasonal symbolism, such as traditional iconography and colors, to relay a deeper meaning. In general, there is a more specific narrative as each piece focuses on only two to three figures. The mixed media is used to create jagged edges within these landscape-style depictions.

Romance 2009

Through both expressive color and gentle figures, Vesselin manages an exquisite partnership of the delicate and passionate nature of the cycle. The faces of the figures, described in more detail, are effortlessly complimented by the soft silhouettes of the figure bodies. As for color, there is a bold but smooth contrast between ardent reds and vivacious blues.

By Vivaldi 2009

Immediately capturing attention by framing lively depictions with an overlay of colorful paper, just enough is revealed to allow the onlooker a glimpse into the world he has exposed. This cycle speaks of allure, sensuality, and the idea of the ‘forbidden fruit’ through the tantalizing symbolism and moments revealed.

The Fish are Praying for Rain 2008-09

Vesselin unleashes visual dynamism as he breathes beautiful colors into his works. A large part of this cycle is the array of hues that splatter across the canvas. Stark blues and greens contrast with fiery warm tones and permeate the atmosphere. In addition, playful earthy and oceanic motifs meander across the canvas to add interesting symbolism.

Mass 2008

Vesselin encapsulates an eruption of color within various geometric and amorphous shapes. By condensing vibrant watercolors with delicate charcoal figures, he creates a concise space of visual dynamism. Overall, this is a warmer cycle abundant with recurring symbolism.

Situation 2008

Traditional charcoal figures and motifs are imbued with a permeation of radiating color. In this cycle, viewers experience visual excitement as these works emit ardent cool tones that transition to explosive warm tones. These works portray the perfect harmony of gray scale and color.


Thoughts 2008

“Thoughts” considers the cerebral and its limits. In each piece, sketched figures are overlapped by strong, abstract colors. There is a feeling of being trapped as the sketches crowded and drowned by the paint. The colors stretch and seek connection like thoughts straining to break through the surface of the subconscious. Progress is illustrated through the change, both subtle and abrupt, of color across the space. The cycle posits questions about the strength of imagination, how that can clash with reality, and what that dichotomy can create in itself. 


Transient and Eternal 2004-05

Vesselin opens up the canvas in these works by creating compositions that are focused in the center. With this tactic, viewers are drawn into his otherworldly atmospheres. In this cycle Vesselin intertwines a collage of imagery that creates separate yet unified spheres.

Temples 2003

The cycle Temples integrates an amalgamation of watercolor, charcoal, and tissue paper. With the use of these various materials, he activates both visual and tactile senses within the viewer. Audiences become immersed in these abstract worlds that unify with a comprehensible reality. Upon close observation, these scenes come to life and tell diverse stories.

Thoughts about the Genesis 2002-03

Infusing watercolor with charcoal using the best fleck water softener we got, Vesselin creates surrealist worlds. His works play on both positive and negative space as he merges empty spaces of canvas with permeation of gradating colors. With this, viewers are welcomed into a dream-like space that is not obtainable in reality.