In an age of sped-up communication and fractured lifestyles, the paintings of Peter Zlatkoff are aptly abstract and perceptive. With measured dabs of colour, Peter builds up layers of paint to create tones and forms; geometrical elements in his pieces allude to the highly analytical approach that underlies Peter’s art. This illusion of intricately ordered chaos is the result of a compelling story.
As a young man, Peter Zlatkoff aspired to become an architect or engineer and his exceptional mathematical ability meant that this pathway seemed straightforward.
At the age of 16, Peter suffered a brain haemorrhage and was rushed to hospital. He was on life support for over a month and underwent extensive surgery on his cranium. His speech suffered and his right arm and leg were paralysed. However, the life-changing event meant Peters innermost thoughts found their way onto canvas.
Peter had a major breakthrough during a trip to Athens in 2000. He began to observe circular and square patterns in everyday objects. Gradually he developed a way to train his eyes to defocus, in order to see the form and beauty of abstract concepts. This went hand in hand with his predisposition towards viewing things analytically, and became a basis of his subsequent works. Thematically, the natural world, changing seasons in particular had a profoundly therapeutic effect on him.
Since then, his perception of the world and his surroundings has forever been altered. His unique style and vision is a by-product of years of hard work and struggle to re-master his motor skills, and render his new-found perceptions with skill and precision. The kaleidoscopic movements of colour and light in the abstract style indicate his technique of blending colour spots into a fuller range of tones in the Pointillism style.
There is a range of themes in Peter’s work, but a central device is the four seasons. Compilations of colour reflect the changing seasons and the nuances that different light brings to a scene. In Summer, vibrant hues reflect the intensity of heat and light. Like the season itself, Autumn is gentler, with warming rusts and temperate lavenders giving contrast to the cold and ethereal blues and greens of Winter. The colours of Spring represent life at its most effervescent.
Peter’s father Zlatko says, “His paintings are windows to his perception of life.” Peter’s art is vitally important to him; there is a vast chasm of thoughts and feelings that make their way onto the canvas, through the dabs of a paintbrush. The result is an intricately layered eddy of colour and form, with varying degrees of depth and focus.
In 1998 Peter won the Telecom Award for the Wellington telephone book cover of that year, something he and his family are immensely proud of. Such an achievement testifies to Peter’s incredible courage and determination and to his talent as an artist.
Since then Peter has largely focused on creating and had as a result generated a significant body of work, which has to this date not been presented in public in its entirety.
The influences of the cubist greats, Russian abstract works, Monet’s Cathedral series, and Delauney’s Eiffel tower series seem to linger in Peter’s pieces. However, he has not studied these works. Paying attention to the inner-self and embracing way that his perceptions have altered through the extraordinary events of his life has defined his unique style.
Peter is happy with that connection and is content to be a painter of light and place at the end of a media saturated century.