While backpacking through Bucharest, Romania in August, I carved out some time to pass by the 418 Gallery; a small contemporary art gallery founded in 2008 with a mission to promote local Romanian artists. The gallery is tucked away in a secluded part of central Bucharest in a quaint little inter-war period villa.
The exhibition displayed on my visit was titled “Structure and Energy II – The Power of Abstraction”; a group exhibition with works by Romanian artists: Vincentiu Grigorescu, Romul Nutiu and Diet Sayler, curated by Marzia Ratti and Joana Grevers.
The exhibit consisted of a variety of paintings and sculptures. However, for the purpose of this comparison, I will focus on the abstract structures created on a two-dimensional platform.
Each of the three artists tackles the question of abstraction in very unique forms and structures within their paintings. As soon as one enters the space, one can immediately begin to question and compare the various styles and forms being represented. However, regardless of their unique approaches to their artistic work, each artist clearly displays a skillful approach to the same subject matter: abstraction.
As seen here, Vincentiu Grigorescu’s work focuses on the use of a dual colour scheme in which “scenes” are created with the use of line and balance. The bold colour contrast and use of a bleeding image, seen below, create an illusion of abstract continuity. There seems to be a continuous sensation of movement within his pieces despite the fact that the main element that is being put to use here is linear.
In this exhibit, Romul Nutiu, a key representative of abstract expressionism in Romania, tends to lean more towards a representation of abstraction and movement in structures with a clear use of circular movement in his brush strokes. The movement depicted is quite central to the canvas as the viewer’s eye is drawn to the centre and spirals outwards but does not leave the canvas edge. This provides viewers with quite a different experience in comparison to Grigorescu’s work. Furthermore, Nutiu’s work has a clear focus of contrast within the spectrum of carfully selected colours, rather than the pure focus on one colour or another. His playful approach towards form and movement creating a unique balance within each of his pieces, Nutiu is able to create alternate abstractions within his pieces that are uniquely his own.
While admiring Diet Sayler’s work I couldn’t help but note yet another approach towards the same subject of abstraction. His work displayed at the 418 Gallery were mostly spread over 2 canvases. Like, Grigurescu, Sayler uses a dual colour scheme as well as a focus on linear movement in order to create alternate spaces. The difference is, part of his abstraction is revealed to the viewer as it stretches over to an adjoining canvas. Part of the mystery of what lays beyond the limits of the canvas is shown while another is not. The viewer is still left in the dark as the piece bleeds over the canvas edge and into the void.
I found this exhibition to be very interesting due to the stark differences in approaching the same subject of abstraction by very different artists. Although the artistic approach displayed on each canvas greatly varied, it was clear that each of the artists were in the midst of tackling the very same visual inquiry.