Bulgarian Sculpture (Sponsored by Toby Griffis)

August 9 – August 30

Bulgarian Sculpture, sponsored by Toby Griffis, continues a tradition that began in New London in 2000 with the International Sculpture Project. ISP showcased sculptors from Bulgaria as well as many other foreign countries. The New London-Bulgarian connection includes William Meredith, former poet laureate, and Richard Harteis, residents of the New London area who have been designated honorary Bulgarian citizens. The ALVA Gallery has previously shown works by Bulgarian artist Stoimen Stolev with those of his daughter and sister.

In the spirit of this overseas collaboration, ALVA Gallery has offered a venue for the sculpture of father and daughter Valentin Startchev and Leda Startcheva. Valentin Startchev has cast dozens of monumental bronze sculptures, which are on view in a variety of public spaces, among them Sofia and Bourgas, Bulgaria. His artworks have been chosen as gifts to Pope John Paul II and King Juan Carlos of Spain. In Bulgarian Sculpture,sponsored by Toby Griffis, Valentin Startchev reveals his ability to extract a semi-realistic human figure from an abstract bronze casting. Many of Startchev’s subjects are feminine in nature. His works on view include Movement, Dance, Nature and Love, which have both rough and highly polished planes and surfaces within the bronze. The curvilinear shapes of the small sculptures invite speculation about the artist’s intent to convey gender.

The work of Leda Stratcheva, Valentin’s daughter, definitely proves that the sculptural roots run deep in this Bulgarian family. Startcheva has also created monumental sculptures, which are on view in public spaces in Troyan, Radnevo and Sofia, Bulgaria. Her work for this show is monumental in concept, rather than size, revealing anthropomorphous male figures, which are reminiscent of warriors of long ago, remade and preserved in bronze, some of which is patinated in a variety of colors.

Leda Startcheva, Capriccio, bronze, 2003

Leda Startcheva, Quadrigue, bronze, 2001


Valentin Startchev, Dance, bronze, 2002


Valentin Startchev, Antique Motif II, bronze, 2003