Through Painters’ Eyes
Galerie Ron Mandos
Through Painters’ Eyes: Hernan Bas and Ioan Sbârciu
June 1 - July 13
Galerie Ron Mandos presents Through Painters’ Eyes: an exhibition focusing on international developments in painting. The gallery proudly introduces works by influential American artist Hernan Bas and Romanian painter and professor Ioan Sbârciu. These artists share a critical view of our world, a fresh attitude towards painting and a great mastery of the medium. In the gallery’s back room, a selection of works by Anthony Goicolea and Hans Op de Beeck is presented.
Hernan Bas is best known for his figurative paintings in which male adolescence plays a central role. The artist is influenced by Decadent writers such as Charles Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde. Loaded with codes and double meanings, the works are rich in references to a wide range of topics including mythology, television shows, the paranormal, religion, the occult, queer vocabulary, subcultures, fashion magazines, horror movies and the iconography of the dandy. Bas interprets classic art historical subjects like landscapes and portraits while celebrating the fragility of emergent masculinities – his subjects seem suspended between adolescence and adulthood.
Bas’ latest body of work started with a suite of monotype portraits titled Supercuts, after a popular low-key chain of hair salons in the US. Bas: ‘When I was assembling the portraits into a grid, I was immediately reminded of the photo’s framed on the wall of Supercuts – those standard model headshots from which you selected the look you want from your stylist.’ The artist does not depict specific individuals: while some portraits are drawn from references, most are freeform, with different results following multiple attempts at the same face. ‘The fact that they all started to feel like the same person was interesting to me: it shows how style is such a construct, so readily interchangeable’. The series also includes a suite of so-called ‘ghosts’, faded images resulting from of a second printing of the monotype. New paintings include Look Your Best, which is based loosely on James McNeill Whistler’s 1871 painting Arrangement in Grey and Black No., famously known as Whistlers Mother. Bas: ‘I wanted to make rather traditional portraits of a very American setting – the gathering spot of male comradery’.
Hernan Bas (Miami, 1978) is based between Detroit and Miami. His work is influenced by the atmosphere of these cities and their emerging art communities. One-man exhibitions of his work were organized by Centro De Arte Contemporáneo Málaga; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah; Kunstverein Hannover; Brooklyn Museum of Art and Bass Museum of Art, Miami, amongst others. The artist participated in group exhibitions at Saatchi Gallery, London; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Tate St. Ives and many more. His work is part of public collections including New York’s Brooklyn Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art; as well as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and more.
A professor at the Art and Design University Cluj-Napoca, Ioan Sbârciu educated the generation of young Romanian painters such as Adrian Ghenie, Mircea Suciu, Serban Savu, Marius Bercea and Victor Man who are now taking the international art world by storm. Sbârciu’s use of color, in which a wealth of grey tones plays a central role, and his approach to figuration are leading within the so called ‘Cluj school of painting’. Until the 1989 revolution, Romanian artists barely had access to an international art context. Sbârciu fought for reforms in art education, thus paving the way for the current international appreciation of Romanian artists.
Ioan Sbârciu’s highly expressive work is inspired by mythology, classicism and the riddles of the Transylvanian landscape. Growing up, he spent many hours in the Rodna Mountains with their glacier lakes, primeval forests and hidden caves. Sbârciu observes that mystery slowly but surely seems to disappears from our world – this is why it is a central element in his paintings. Suggestion and intuition are more important than representation; it is the viewer who is responsible for the interpretation.
Ioan Sbârciu (Feldru, RO, 1948) is one of the most influential Romanian artists. He is widely appreciated by critics and colleagues and his work is loved by a large audience. Sbârciu is Ph.D. professor of Visual Arts at the University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca and holds various board positions in the cultural field of Romania. He has had dozens of one-man exhibitions. Sbârciu’s work has been shown internationally in Italy, Japan, Germany, the US, France and beyond. In recent years his work is regularly included as cornerstone in group exhibitions about the ‘Cluj school of painting’.
Performance: Jean Salazar Tavera a.k.a. ShinShan
Break dancer Jean Salazar Tavera, also known as Bboy ShinShan, will give a performance during the opening of the exhibition. Only 17 years of age, he already won may prizes including the World Street Dance Championships, Holland’s Got Talent and Kunstbende. During the performance, ShinShan will respond to the works of Hernan Bas, who, like himself, has a Cuban background.