Act of sight

Rossitza Todorova: Windscapes

Rossitza Todorova’s “Re-defined Grid,” a pen and ink piece featured at the <i>Windscapes</i> exhibit.

Rossitza Todorova’s “Re-defined Grid,” a pen and ink piece featured at the Windscapes exhibit.

Photo By David Robert

Fascinated by humanity’s drive to change and adapt to his surroundings, local artist Rossitza Todorova, 25, depicts the ever-changing landscapes of Northern Nevada in her abstract black-and-white drawings. In her artwork, she morphs natural and architectural lines of ink to create vast, overlapping landscapes.

“For the last 16 years, I have witnessed many changes of [local valleys], pushing further into the surrounding hills and valleys as roads, highways and homes stretch out into desert, transforming our natural landscape, leaving man and nature in a symbiotic relationship of creating and reclaiming his environment,” she says. “As an artist, I find man’s desire to take charge of his own life visually inspiring.”

Each line of the young, Bulgarian-born artist’s pen-and-ink sketches buries itself under another, and while the lines do not move, it is within our own stillness that we walk their composition. Todorova uses the sense of sight to bring the viewer into the two-dimensional world of art. The finely detailed lines give the drawings depth and distance, and these renderings can be interpreted as straight-on landscapes or aerial views. But the images are enticingly unclear with their curving arteries of white space, contrasting with frenzied layers of ink and intricate patterns of cross-hatching, leaving them open to interpretation.

“I try to show energy and movement with each composition and challenge the viewer to create their own story while I act as the narrator showing and foreshadowing elements of plot,” says Todorova. “My lines of ink are an abstract representation of how man uses his tools to redefine his world but also represents his desire for movement and travel. In my drawings, I try to capture the motion of man in one landscape; the road and the body that created it.”

Each sketch is meant to ground the work to a specific location, and Todorova’s drawings have titles such as “Crossroads” and “Sitting Above the Tunnel’s Mouth.” Among the drawings in her current exhibit on display at the Northwest Reno Library Gallery, “Highway and Bridge Stand Unfinished” is one with which the artist expressed a special relationship while creating the Windscapes exhibit.

Todorova has exhibited her work throughout the Reno area in the past several years, including recent solo shows at the Nevada Museum of Art and the Sierra Arts Foundation. Presently, Todorova works with the Nevada Touring Initiative’s “Traveling Exhibition Program,” a program of the Nevada Arts Council that brings visual arts exhibits and cultural events to rural communities throughout the state.

Todorova will present a free art workshop for all ages at the Northwest Reno Library on May 8, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. The workshop will be a drawing lesson on negative space, which focuses on capturing the entire space rather than just the object or subject being drawn.

“Viewing art is a journey,” Todorova says. “Uninhibited by physical reality, we bring all of our knowledge and experience into the act of seeing. Each step I take is small like the lines and marks on the paper, and yet the steps connect and carry my viewers and me to the road ahead. The road breaks, weaves over hills and under bridges, it forks and is rejoined.”

These abstract landscape images can be reinterpreted over and over again yet are sure to leave an indelible impression.