Romanian contemporary art

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Ioana Iacob

Ioana Iacob, painting from Romania

Ioana Iacob's paintings are intimate both in scale and content. Born in 1987, she is one of a younger generation of artists whose focus is less on the past than the present - and in Iacob's case, a present that reflects the lives of young women just like herself.

Iacob's canvases depict the absolutely everyday - washing set out to dry; a make-up bag; brushes and cosmetics.

And in many ways, these would make for unexceptional works except for the fact that Iacob's scrutiny evokes shades of nuance far beyond what is depicted.

There's a certain poignancy, for example, in the emphasis on routines which are never shown to bear any particular outcome. Iacob's largely unseen protagonists prepare themselves for everyday eventualities - a night out; a day at work; time with friends - which, since they remain unseen, may not even occur. The presence of partners or lovers is equally impossible to determine, although sometimes hinted at.

Although anyone can recognise, and empathise with, the daily routines Iacob presents, the emotional tenor of the life (or lives) behind them remains almost entirely mysterious.

Ioana Iacob: Romanian artists
Images © Ioana Iacob

Sergiu Toma

Romanian painting today: Sergiu Toma

The virtuoso skills with which Cluj painters have become associated are especially evident in the work of young artist Sergiu Toma.

Influenced from a young age by 17th century masters, many of Toma's early portraits were concerned with "creating spectacularly realistic images" in homage to great painters of the past.

More recent works, however, place emphasis on atmosphere, an adjustment which seems to have paid dividends in the form of moodily suggestive paintings replete with "evocative power".

Romanian contemporary art: Sergiu Toma
Images © Sergiu Toma

Ana Maria Micu

Romanian contemporary art and painting

A formidable figurative painter, Micu's practice has undergone numerous revisions since her graduation from Cluj University's painting department in 2004.

Ana Maria Micu

Micu is fascinated by gesture and body language, a concern that appears in early portraits which are cropped to exclude the faces of subjects. Later works reprise this theme by focusing on the movement of hands, such as a series of paintings depicting sign language.

In more recent works, the need to interpret has been complicated further, with added texts or the device of paintings within paintings forcing viewers to extract meaning from seemingly disparate sources and assess their interconnection.

contemporary art from Romania: Ana Maria Micu
Images © Ana Maria Micu

Veres Szabolcs

Romanian painters now, Veres Szabolcs

Another of Romania's emerging younger painters, Veres Szabolcs was born in 1983 and studied in Cluj-Napoca, where he currently lives and works.

Over the last few years, Szabolc's stylistic approach to painting has undergone various revisions, progressively becoming far more fluid and expressive.

Szabolcs' work revisits dominant themes in Romanian art history, such as hunting scenes and portraiture, but fractures the resulting compositions into highly-charged, gestural surfaces. As distinctions between forms are frantically broken down, landscape, human and animal merge into a grotesque cacophony of impasto marks.

Veres Szabolcs: The Cluj school of Romania
Veres Szabolcs: Romanian painters from Cluj
Images © Veres Szabolcs
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