Sanctuary, 1994, Oil on Panel, 21" x 27", Ethel & Robert Story Collection
. . . Even when his paintings are ambiguous or nonspecific, they possess a compelling moodiness, one that is derived largely from Hrehov's precise technique. One of his most recent paintings, "Sanctuary", is a technical tour de force that took him three months of working an average of five hours a day to complete. Inspired by a Will Barnet drawing of a flock of crows silhouetted on the branches of a tree (an illustration that appeared in The World in a Frame, a collection of Emily Dickinson's poems), it depicts a complicated design of toy birds on a flat surface. Hrehov carefully arranged the plastic birds—a flea-market find— on a slightly tilted surface with the lighting positioned so crisp, blue-gray shadows would appear to link the individual forms. He paid attention to the birds' sizes and colors and placed them so their wings—some of which were spread and some folded—were at varying angles to add to the interest of the design . . .
© American Artist
June, 1997

  ©2004 John Hrehov
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