Meow Wolf mural in progress, photo Kate Russell

It has been almost three years since we wrote about Bill Dambrova and his exhibition Your Thoughts Are Not Your Own. We marveled at his colorful, large-scale paintings that guided us through the complexities of human biology, while abstractly nodding to the intricacies of all facets of our being, including the emotional and spiritual.

Dambrova is currently showcasing a series of new and recent paintings at the Eric Fischl Gallery at Phoenix College. The exhibition Energy Eaters is in the same vein stylistically and easily proves the artist’s ability to outdo himself. In a way that sounds like a bombastic action-movie sequel, it’s bolder, brighter and thrilling throughout.

You Are the Next to Be Eaten

The ramp-up in this exhibition’s overall intensity might have much to do with the fact that Dambrova feels like he’s overcome some hurdles that have let him settle into a comfortable place with his work. Not cozy in a way that will have him resting on his laurels, but a foundational milestone that allows him to look forward to new challenges and growth.

“I’m not stressing about what I’m painting,” Dambrova says, “or on the narrative.” Not tethered to the idea that an artist should feel tortured or uncomfortable to make good work, he feels like he has found his flow. “In life,” he says, “you want to enjoy the processes of your endeavors. There’s already plenty of stressors in the world. I think artists should activate their studio spaces in a way they can enjoy.”

“For me,” he adds, “I think feeling good makes the work stronger.”

Firmly rooted, he conjures abstract shapes and creates images from the chaos that swirls around, pulling from what’s happening in his own world while examining human physical and spiritual existence. “We are spiritual beings, but our bodies are on a journey,” he says. “Through our bodies, we align ourselves with the universe. Through the painting process, I can contemplate the aspects of the journey.”

Womb Hole

In addition to Energy Eaters, Dambrova has a few other artistic projects in the works. He is also a successful exhibit designer. His confidence and built-in need to explore find him enjoying a steady stream of new and different experiences. “Diversifying, mutating, changing and adapting is important to me.” He values each project as equally important, setting excellence as the end goal.

Upon invitation, Dambrova recently completed a mural at the award-winning House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe – an immersive art experience run by the Meow Wolf collective. House opened in 2016 and has been a topic of conversation ever since. It’s a multidimensional mystery house where guests tour through rooms, finding secret passages and magical worlds. Dambrova is one of six artists who created murals in new rooms in this continually evolving permanent installation.


Energy Eaters

Through March 22

Eric Fischl Gallery

Phoenix College Fine & Performing Arts building

Eric Fischl gallery