Ukrainian-born Konstantine Bokov began his career as an accordian-player and sheep-herder. After seeing a Van Gogh painting in Moscow, however, the young Bokov decided to put down his instrument and staff in favour of a paint brush. After the ideologically unreliable artist was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1975, Bokov found residence in Washington Heights in New York City. Bokov’s canvasses and recycled pieces offer an image of New York that is both a scathing critique and a profession of love.
Entirely self-taught, Bokov has showed around the U.S. and the world, including in New York (most recently at the NYC 2009 Outsider Art Fair), San Francisco, Holland, Vienna, Paris and Japan. In both his life and his art, Bokov has found himself acting as mediator between cultures and art movements. Bokov’s paintings employ the language of impressionism while disrupting the laws of classical depiction in unexpected ways.In life and art Konstantin Bokov has found himself acting the mediator between cultures and art movements. A painter, junk artist and collagist, Bokov makes the recycling of cultural and industrial waste the central theme of his work.
Unlike two previous personal shows (in New York and San Francisco) that presented Bokov's "recycle" pieces as his most characteristic creations, the scheduled exhibition will also feature a number of large triptych-like canvases that put a grotesque and ironic spin on popular icons, smaller oil-sketches of New York City landscapes, still-lifes that often frame an imported artistic image, and drawings. These works employ the language of impressionism but disrupt the laws of classical depiction in unexpected ways and places that move the paintings into the realm of the absurd.
Almost 25 years ago the ideologically unreliable artist was
expelled from the Soviet Union. Since then he has found solidarity
with the marginalized waste of American culture, wandering the
streets of New York City and reconstructing a new city from
its discarded scraps. Along with countless recycle monsters
he has left as gifts to the Soho streets, Bokov has erected
impromptu gallery spaces under the Brooklyn Bridge, on the George
Washington Bridge, and on the piers of Washington Heights, most
of which have been destroyed. Indoors and legally zoned, the
exhibition at the Philip Williams Gallery displayed a variety
of Bokov's canvases and recycle pieces that offer through his
skewed verbal and visual syntax, an image of New York City which
is both a scathing critique and a profession of love.