Ioan Sbârciu

Artist Feature

“Sbârciu’s paintings are full of mystery and substance, conveyed through poetic illumination and color networks spread over large surfaces. Neither figurative nor entirely abstract, his landscapes address significant issues like the fate of the Earth and the necessity of changing our treatment of nature.”

We are pleased to feature the work of Ioan Sbârciu (born in 1948, Feldru, Romania) who is one of Romania’s most important painters. Throughout his career as a professor, Sbârciu has been associated with the Cluj School phenomenon, teaching artists such as Adrian Ghenie, Victor Man, Marius Bercea, Mircea Suciu, Serban Savu, and many others.

Neither figurative, nor entirely abstract, Sbârciu’s monumental landscapes engage with almost everything that weighs upon us at the present – the fate of the Earth, the closeness of calamity, and the urgency of redefining of our approach to nature. Mystery and matter are delivered in a rush of poetic illumination, in an explosion of color that is masterfully spread on a vast expanse of canvas.

As a painter, Ioan Sbârciu carved a unique path in the history of Romanian art, through this particular ability to orchestrate painting as a continuum field of forces and energies, spread over immense surfaces and complex color networks. In three interrelated series of paintings successively entitled Cinder Forest, Transylvanian Lights and Infinite Landscape, the artist imagines poetic spaces that are as much real as they are fictional, saturated by mystical beauty, but also charged with the emotional dimension of a melancholic past. Histories of memory and hope are transcribed onto the canvas through performative rituals that invoke the redemptive nature of art to overcome the effects of a trauma.

Building upon his powerfully gestural neo-Romanticist expressionism, the artist creates works that become physical topographies in their own right, forged from tactile media including remains of matter such as ash and sand. Generated by immediate experience, these paintings are redemptive; attempting a recovery of a lost past and bucolic land, but mainly emphasizing the infinite power of matter to be reborn in new forms, beyond the rational and the known.

We are pleased about Ioan Sbârciu’s current solo exhibition “Inner Nature” at Brukenthal National Museum. His solo exhibition “Estranged from Nature” was on display in a Palazzo in Venice this summer, organized by our longterm collaborator, the cultural platform Zuecca Projects, and the European ArtEast Foundation, curated by Maria Rus Bojan.

Please review a selection of paintings by Ioan Sbârciu by clicking here.