Ivan Mangov (Serbian, b.1979) creates highly tactile oil paintings deeply rooted in the abstract realm. With hues that appear to vibrate off the canvas, a visual rhythm allows his works to continually change and develop, drawing the viewer deeper into the painting. Hidden behind veils of rich texture, portraits reminiscent of ancient sculptural form emerge and then disappear back into the canvas. The paintings bring to mind the direct correlation that occurs in nature. This is seen with the ebb and flow in the process of creation, erosion, and dissolution; his paintings are seen as a reflection of man-made creations and their ultimate return to the natural world.Known for his slow and gradual process, taking months to complete each work of art, Mangov seeks to capture the natural ravages of time. Enchanted by this natural succession seen in Serbian frescos painted during the Byzantium era and the complexity of mineral scriptures that date as far back to the dawn of time, we can define the matter as a substance of time and cannot but trust its infallible visuality. Just as corals and solid sediments from an ancient broke statue found at the seabed become part of that very bottom, so do the brush and spatial strokes in the quest for spontaneous visual expression, freely negating the recognizable form of the painted character. In search of the spirit of the matter through daring underpainting and radical transformations, distinct portraits of time are created. They demonstrate the disappearance of ideals, the form that crumbles only to be restored to its original condition – the realm of shapelessness. Ivan Mangov - Oil on canvas - Underpainting process preview from Mangov on Vimeo. Beneath the surface of a nice finished painting, like geological strata are layers of color visible only in traces. Capturing the spirit and energy of these abstract subjects, Mangov invites the viewer inward toward something beyond the surface, deep within the painting and within ourselves. Mangov mastered his technique under the guidance of acclaimed Serbian painter Zdravko Vajaić, an outstanding colorist and a former student of the eminent Yugoslav painter Nedeljko Gvozdenovic. We can further race back that pathway to Hans Hofmann (German-American), a pivotal figure in Abstract Expressionism and stands as one of the most important characters of post-war American art.Mangov holds two MA degrees: one in Interior Architecture from the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia; and in Museography from the University of Politecnico di Milano, Italy. In 2014, he was presented with the distinguished “Ranko Radovic” award from the Association of Applied Arts Artists and Designers of Serbia for best exhibition of the year, held at the Museum of Applied Arts in Belgrade. In November 2016, his works were exhibited at the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, District of Columbia.
“Beneath the surface of a once finished painting, like geological strata are layers of color visible only in traces. In order to preserve the evidence of processes that remain trapped in the depths, I take photographs of the changes trying to capture the course of creation. These shots, when looked at in chronological order, provide a quick insight into a slow and gradual process of painting that takes many months.” – Ivan Mangov