NAG 2020 @ NOOK - Group Exhibition #1

2 October 2020 - 4 October 2020 (ongoing, my works are still there)

This year I was very excited to receive the invitation to exhibit at the "White Night of Art Galleries" from Ioana Pasc, founder of NOOK (22 Victoriei St.), a wonderful co-working space in Sibiu, Romania.
Ioana envisioned a group exhibition entitled "The Art Coop." and she registered NOOK as a venue for the national event 2 days ahead of the deadline.
My enthusiasm doubled: The 2020 White Night of Art Galleries would also mark my first group exhibition. And I couldn't have landed in a better company.

I set out to work, I created the visuals for the event and I selected the artworks that I was going to hang on the walls.

I chose four artworks, 3 of which were created during the state-mandated lockdown, except for the main piece, "The Mother Ship", which was finished at the end of last year.
"The Mother Ship" (2019) explores the vulnerability of humanity against nature portrayed by a huge rock that I found in the mountains of Bâlea Lac. "Plastic Ocean" (2020) tackles the issue of plastic consumption, "Portrait of an Indigenous Child" (2020) honours the struggle of indigenous tribes to save the Amazon rainforest and "The Mosque of Cordoba" (2020) questions the freedom of expression of Muslim women.

Getting the exhibition ready was easy. I convinced Ioana to insert a dowel screw for "The Mother Ship" in the freshly restored walls of the venue and we hung the other artworks on previously inserted nails in the second room. All it took was a spirit level and fishing wire and the artworks were securely hanging on the walls.

The main artwork, "The Mother Ship" (2019), was created using oil paint and ink on 320 g Fedrigoni cardboard, measuring 72 cm x 101 cm.

I have worked for six months on this artwork. The inspiration for it came during my first visit to Bâlea Lac, a glacier lake situated at 2034m in the Făgăraș Mountains, where I stumbled upon a huge rock. I called it "the mother ship" and I instantly knew I wanted to paint it. The mother ship ended up being an exponent of nature itself, an inanimate representative of escapism and the instinctual need of man for something greater than himself. The two brothers are inspired by the beach portraits of Rineke Dijkstra. I needed to add human beings to the work - although it's clear that the rock is the main character - and Dijkstra's portraits have something intrinsically human to them. The two brothers are there as witnesses and to appreciate the space, to experiment detachment from the restrictions imposed by society, to expand their consciousness towards nature.
"The Mother Ship" reflects human fragility in the face of nature but also the gentleness of nature. The mother ship is the perfect sanctuary for human vulnerability. Its ancestral age comes in perfect contrast with the youthfulness of the brothers although they seem to be related; the rock seems to be protective of them although, in reality, it's completely indifferent to how life is unfolding.

You can read more about this project here.

The artwork entitled "Plastic Ocean" (2020) is a mixed media piece on 160 g paper, measuring 29,7 cm x 42 cm. The materials I've used while working on it were watercolor, liner, watercolor pencils, silicone and plastic ribbons.
It's becoming increasingly clear that we are swimming in plastic infested waters and this piece wants to raise awareness about the use of non-degradable resources and the impact that this has on our oceans. Thus, the puffer fish is forced outside its environment where plastic is taking over the space of marine creatures. The artwork is essentially a cry for help and a warning that we should temper our consumerist habits.

"Portrait of an indigenous child" (2020) was created using watercolor pencils and liner on 160 g paper, measuring 21 cm x 29,7 cm.
A tamarin monkey and a child from an indigenous tribe in the Amazon rainforest. A story about the complicated relationship between man and animal that encouraged me to work during lockdown and helped me accept the failures along the way. Long story short, I made a mistake while working for three months on the initial portrait in oil but I thought it was worth redoing the piece on paper considering the fact that indigenous people are on the front lines in the battle against abusive deforestation while also being affected by the pandemic. Presently, Amazonian tribes are severely affected by the COVID pandemic, their lives have become extremely complicated and the Brazilian government turns a blind eye to the situation. This piece is meant to honour their struggle and to increase the visibility of their needs.

My most recent work, "The Mosque of Cordoba" (2020), was created as a mixed media piece using watercolor pencils, markers and liner on 160 g paper, measuring 29,7 cm x 42 cm.
The location in the picture is the hypostyle hall of the former mosque in Cordoba - now a Catholic cathedral - where a ballerina wearing a hijab is dancing bringing this Moorish monument to life. The ballerina's dance is a homage brought to the Muslim women who are seen from outside their culture as enslaved women, although many of them choose to live as tradition dictates. Away from the prying eyes of bystanders, the ballerina is free from the constraints imposed by society and religion using dance as a language to express her individuality, her femininity and her creative impulse.

All the artworks are for sale so please contact me if you want to buy any of them. As of writing this, "Portrait of an indigenous child" is reserved.

Later edit: Both "Portrait of an indigenous child" and "The Mosque of Cordoba" have been sold.

My exhibition colleagues were: Laura Cândea-Burnete - art-therapist and founder of Art’NativSilvia Paizan – illustrator, Andreea Popa – photographer, Florin Popescu – fotograf, RaColaj – group of collage enthusiasts, Claudiu Nicodin – sculptor and Alexandra Stoica – painting.

This year, The White Night of Art Galleries extended over three days, 2-4 October, to allow for the participation of a greater number of visitors. During the three nights, we had many people visiting our pop-up gallery, more than we had anticipated given the current state of the pandemic. Everything went smoothly and we noticed that the people haven't lost their appetite for art. For the artists involved it was certainly a good opportunity to leave their art studios and meet their public.

Thank you, Ioana Pasc, for the invitation to exhibit at the White Night of Art Galleries 2020!

You can still find prints and sticker packs at NOOK, I encourage you to pay them a visit and try swapping your home office for a NOOK office.

Photo credits: Silvia Paizan, Claudia Ramba, Ioana Pasc, Camil Băncioiu.

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