Peter Dochev’s name is associated with the birth and development of industrial landscape in Bulgarian art during the second half of the twentieth century. The Sofia City Art Gallery exhibition commemorating the 75th anniversary of his birth aims to give a comprehensive idea of Peter Dochev’s work following his evolution as an artist.
Peter Dochev entered the Bulgarian art scene in 1963 to become a permanent fixture on it. His work is characterized by the emphasis on solid form, no-frills composition and the fine nuancing of colour. Peter Dochev’s work during the 1960’s is best illustrated by works such as “On the Bus”, “Worker”, and “Metallurgical Workers”. Human figures are big, taking up most of the space on the canvas. Painting backgrounds are “clear”. They do not contain excessive or insignificant detail. Peter Dochev was not afraid of emptiness. He joined forces with it to attain higher emotional expressiveness. His 1970’s industrial landscapes are characterized by a “clear” background, concentration on details or form configurations. The artist tried his best to make art out of each element of the depressing reality of the Kremikovtsi Metallurgical Complex. Using purely artistic means, Peter Dochev stood his personal and artistic ground, acting like an objective observer.
In the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s the artist created a great number of urban landscapes. There came a moment in Peter Dochev’s artistic development during the 1980’s, when the landscape left the bounds of nature. Colourful spots and relieves stand out from the black background in “Black Earth”, “Charred Earth”, “Terrain”, “Old Vineyards”, etc. Peter Dochev’s work during the 1990’s is characterized by the absence of specific imagery. During the 1990’s he started off with the comparision between relief, or pure forms to embrace the use of purely geometrical shapes like the circle and the square.
In 2000 he started concentrating on the black colour to later pass on to gold as a sign of eternity. In his last artworks the artist attains a total synthesis, based on the geometry of the circle and the square. They are signs of the purity of forms, containing the concentrated emotion and extreme expressiveness of the gesture of creation.
Peter Dochev had an acute sense of highlighting the essential and significant. This facilitated his smooth and consistent progression from analysis to synthesis, from nature to an absolutely clear form bearing the meaning of a sign.
Peter Dochev was born in 1934 in the village of Lesidren, District of Lovech. In 1956 he finished the High School of Arts in Sofia as a disciple of the artist Ivan Hristov. Over the period 1957-1959 he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Sofia with Prof. Iliya Petrov and Prof. Nenko Balkanski. Between 1960 and 1975 he was a chief artist at the Kremikovtsi Metallurgical Complex. In 1963 he started regularly participating in group exhibitions and in 1967 he became a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Over the period 1975-2005 he lived and worked in the village of Lesidren, District of Lovech. He died in Sofia in 2005.