Jagged Inflections

Marian Ionescu of the band Direcţia 5 has had his first painting exhibition this year at the largest contemporary art fair in Romania, Art Safari. He then exhibited at ARCUB. Here’s one of my favorite paintings of his show there. It’s titled Urban, and for some reason reminds me of Keith Haring’s lines. It also speaks to me of how we try to impose rational lines onto a city to oppose its organic growth, and how at the end the fabric of that city is a jumbled mixture of lines that make up a palimpsest of its urban history.

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Urban, 200 x 180 cm

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Urban, Detail

Daniela Donțu’s Portraits

I saw two portraits by Daniela Donțu at the Elite Art Gallery a few days ago, and was quite struck by her technique and aesthetic. Here’s Stări (1) (States [of Mind] (1) ) and Gânduri (Thoughts).

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For some reason I couldn’t identify right away, I found these paintings mesmerizing. It took some photographing of old photos to realize what has drawn me to Donțu’s work, States [of Mind] (1) in particular. It’s the way the fluid handling of paint creates the suggestion of reflection-filled layers, as if you were looking at the man through a series of windows—or veils of affective memory.

Cătălin Burcea, The First and the Last Step

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Cătălin Burcea, The First and the Last Step, at Victoria Art Center in Bucharest

I visited the new exhibition at the Victoria Art Center yesterday, and, while I liked all of the pieces, I was quite impressed with one of them in particular, Cătălin Burcea’s The First and The Last Step (Primul și ultimul pas, in Romanian).

The work consists of four segments of charred wood laid upon a narrow bed of sand. First things first: why four pieces and a single log? The parts may be a reference, perhaps, to the four nucleotide bases of a DNA strand, or, alternatively, to the idea of steps–considered separately from the first and the last step mentioned in the title. Moving on, it’s easy to see why these pieces of wood, passed through fire, a step before returning to the earth as ashes (and you can see in the detail below how chips of it are already coming loose and taking that road), is the last step. But how is it the first step? Maybe the fire that consumes us is a spiritual moment that allows us to be born. Maybe we’re already charred wood when we’re born (the old idea of birth as the first step towards death). I feel it’s this second idea, tied to birth, that gives this piece its oomph. The idea that with every breath we take we die a little–just as a light breeze will eat at this charred log.

Here’s a detail.

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