European Optimism - uplifted spirit reflection

The bright look into the dark future! Oil painting criticism

BY Alina Livneva POSTED 13th of June 2018 17:00 GMT


Oil painting European Optimism by contemporary artist Gheorghe Virtosu


European Optimism, abstract painting. Painted 2016 to 2017 by British artist, Gheorghe Virtosu, b. 1968. Abstract art, Oil painting, 131 cm high by 131 cm wide. 51 X 51 inches. 


The theme

Human psychology is a very complicated system, which is largely oriented at preserving stability and safety of one’s basic attitude, self- and worldview. And our mind is ready to play the weirdest tricks on us to keep them untouched: this is where our ‘defense mechanisms,’ illusions, denials, and other psychological issues, are rooted in. Paradoxically, even such a positive, at first glance, phenomena, as ‘optimism,’ can also be the sign of the unconscious defense from the truth and dealing with some serious trauma. Accepting the fact we are not in control of many issues, or we are facing some threat, or, what’s even more difficult, we’ve made some wrong decisions, can be extremely hard. As one Ukrainian author, Lev Sydnev wrote, “Optimism is the bright look into the dark future.” For sure, optimism isn’t a bad thing: in fact, it often is only the way to survive and avoid the devastating sense of hopelessness and depression. But whenever self-deception can be acceptable for an individual to a certain extent, it is almost definitely catastrophic on the social level. That is the reason Gheorghe Virtosu expresses his concern in the recent uplifted spirit of the European Community in his painting.

Figure

Done in the recognizable artist’s style, defined by curved, swelling lines, intensive tints and accentuated painting surface, the work becomes even more roundish, as the number of acute angles is reduced to the minimum. The various irregular oval-shaped figures and bright colors (sunny yellow, sanguine red) make the whole composition look like a bunch of balloons - one of the symbols of childhood. One can even notice the figure at top of the oil painting, which reminds a boy wearing a cap backward. Childhood is the age of optimism - both because of the light-hearted naivety, and openness to the world. Balloons are also the embodiment of temporality and delusion, as the joy of having a balloon lasts till it bursts or deflates. Similarly, the illusion of wellness will crash into the first real troubles. And suggesting us such indirect associations, the master of abstract art questions, whether the EU optimism is the adequate reaction to the situation or the sign of the evolving crisis?

Oil painting European Optimism by contemporary artist Gheorghe Virtosu

Color

Another dualistic aspect of the featured piece is the active usage of blue. On one hand, blue is the symbol of hope and serenity, on another, it is the color of depression (for instance, the common expression for the state of sadness is “to feel blue”). This ideally matches the double-edged nature of optimism - the weapon we can use to empower ourselves and motivate to move further, or to create the shield from the reality. The latter is a short-lasting privilege, as every ivory tower unavoidably gets demolished.




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