GROUNDING – еxhibition of Petya Deneva


Exhibition of Petya Deneva

Curator: Stanislava Nikolova

15/05/2024 – 31/05/2024

Opening: 15.03.2024 (Wednesday): 5:00 – 9:00 pm

See all works from the exhibition HERE!

“Grounding” is the main message in Petya Deneva’s exhibition. She tries to reveal new horizons of the Earth, making us look at our surroundings from another angle.

The exhibition includes 11 paintings, the ceramic sculpture “Ship” and ink prints of plants created during her stay at Little Bird Artist Residency in Leshten village. In recent years the artist has worked exclusively in the direction of exploring natural states.

The idea for this curatorial project arose from a conversation with me about Nikolay Rainov’s article “The Eye of the Artist” (1929). According to Raynov, “artistic work is always a synthesis that comes not from observation, but from contemplation”. The great writer, mystic, philosopher, theosophist and artist tries to explain in the text the creative process by immersing us in nature and its invisible forces.

“You go to the mountains, sit at rest next to some fuzzy and desolate rock. Your hand unknowingly plucks off a handful of greenish, yellowish or whitish layers of vegetation. Forget yourself. Look at the short one holding your hand. Let your soul become a microscope. Or to shrink to the size of the tiniest ant. See then the lush gigantic forest with wondrous antediluvian trees, with huge winged monsters, with lakes in the form of a ball, with black volcanoes, with bridges of precious ore, with rocks of diamond, emerald and sapphire. Try to sneak between the trees, climb the chambers, swim the stream, get to the bottom of the lake (…) Having walked, climb to the top. Try something else. Expand your soul. Feel like a giant – disembodied of course. Fly over the surrounding peaks, over screes, rocks and cliffs, over fields and houses – far, as far as possible. Soar high – to the clouds, above the clouds, to the first star, above it – as far as your imagination goes. Tell me then, haven’t you gained true colossal strength …”

Rainov’s article provides an opportunity for individual searches, for new artistic solutions in the field of the natural landscape. In her works, Petya Deneva strives to give a feeling of contemplation, placing us in the role of a traveler exploring the Earth. According to her, “while in the city we are cut off from nature, returning to Earth can open up other horizons for us, it can even be like traveling to an unknown planet.”

Therefore, the image of the astronaut in the work “Grounding” appears to her, perched on the small walnut, an imaginary symbol of the planet, to discover the life that lies beneath our feet.

While creating the paintings specifically for the exhibition at the Little Bird Place gallery, another point of view emerged, related to looking into the matter of the objects created by star-dust. Building everything from the stars and planets to the blade of grass, sprouting and aiming for light and life like a blade, Petya tries to embody it delicately in her works, using different pastes, glitter and sand to create a materiality beyond that of the paint. Each of the works follows a certain sequence, as an element of an overall narrative, through which the viewer passes to enter the gallery space, guided by the artist. In this journey, an important role is assigned to fire, meaningfully linking the compositions “Ignition” and “Building”. It is a destructive element that brings life, it is an inner foundation, the core of the Earth, part of the creation process. The subject greatly excites the author and she turns to ceramics to make a symbolic connection with clay as a material, completing the creation process.

The invisible changes that occur in the ether, the invisible medium filling the space in which light moves, are skillfully captured in the softness of the palette that Deneva deliberately seeks in the works “Cosmos”, “Close Up” and “Gravity”. The change of perspective, lowered to the level of the ant, inevitably leads to the world of grasses, where near the ground gravity has gathered all the cosmos.

Creating a cautious connection with the silent movements of the plants, the viewer is placed in an unusual contemplative field, directed at the hidden from our eyes. As Nikolay Rainov says: “life, nature, existence hide secrets for you. Try to achieve them. And then you may be pleasantly surprised to feel that Rembrandt, Verhaeren or Buddha are walking next to you.”

PhD. Stanislava Nikolova

About the author:

Petya Deneva was born in 1981 in Balchik. In 2006, she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, majoring in “Painting”. Lives and works in Sofia, freelance artist. Since 2010 she has been a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. She has had fourteen solo exhibitions and numerous contributions in various projects in the field of fine arts and decoration. The main themes of her work are nature, light and mystical manifestations of the spiritual.


The project is implemented with the financial support of the National Culture Fund under the “Creation” program.

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