Artist 's pursuit of expressive freedom through abstract art

Great Energy, Colors, and Motion – Gheorghe Virtosu ’s pursuit of expressive freedom

BY Alina Livneva POSTED 30th of august 2018 17:00 GMT


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 Quasimodo in love, abstract painting


The abstract paintings of British artist Gheorghe Virtosu is filled with interwoven tensions: it is at once authentic yet also fantastical; it is simultaneously bold while also inviting the viewer to engage. These diametrically opposed characteristics combine to create a revolutionary body of work that combines rich color, great energy, and motion to invoke a sense of passion within each painting.



Beneath these compelling surface tensions captured in Gheorghe Virtosu ’s work lies the artist ’s pursuit of expressive freedom, a luxury afforded to the artist only after his youthful years. Growing up in Socialist Eastern Bloc countries, the artist experienced oppression as a young man, the culmination of which was a period of incarceration. Wanting to liberate himself from such bondage, Virtosu turned to abstract art to channel his energies into a vehicle for change. He looked to his childhood love of drawing and recalled how such activity helped him cope with feelings of unhappiness and right the wrongs that the world had wrought in his life.

Accordingly, he began painting, using each stroke of his brush to invoke a sense of personal catharsis on the canvas. The artist mentioned in a recent reflective blog post:

“Creation is the opposite of destruction, and therefore my work was meant to counteract the corrosive process of one wasting themselves away in isolation. With each work, I felt I was one step closer to successfully proving that point.”

Abandoned by Gheorghe Virtosu oil painting DSC09809 Copy
Abandoned, oil painting  Twin Clowns, oil painting

As a result, the richness of his abstract paintings stems from this expression of artistic freedom alongside the probing of his subconscious. Through his creations, which often pair seemingly narrative themes set within supernatural, the artist is able to present a part of himself to the viewer - that is much more impactful than a traditional self-portrait might be; rather, Virtosu offers the viewer a bit of psyche veiled by the passionate colors and brushstrokes that build each composition.

In this exploration of expression, writ large across each of Virtosu’s striking compositions, one can seek echoes of earlier twentieth century masters who sought a similar therapy through their art. The artists of the Abstract Expressionist era, for instance, particularly Willem de Kooning, were invested in a similar probing of surface and subconscious. In compositions such as Excavation (1950), de Kooning deliberately scraped the surface of his canvas to build texture and to effectively create the illusion that the viewer was not simply looking at a field of abstract, intersecting colors but rather was investigating the many levels of a deeply layered plane. At the same time, however, Virtosu invokes the automatism of Surrealists such as Joan Mirò, whose imagined, amorphous forms such as those seen in his record-breaking Paysage sur les bordes du fleuve amour (Landscape on the Shores of the River of Love), (1927), became a document of Mirò subconscious mind manifested on canvas.

willem de kooning de kooning painting 1948 joan miro art visit by viscious speed
Willem de Kooning, abstract painting Joan Mirò, abstract painting

Virtosu’s work thus brings these two approaches together to form an artistic dialogue across generations, but he also carries these ideas into a new mode of expression altogether by carefully titling his works after both historically and contemporarily relevant events and individuals. Monikers such as Galileo Galilei or Gaddafi Sentence add a valence of intrigue and force the viewer to question what he or she sees in the composition. By hinting at such narrative or figural references, the artist reminds the viewer of the vast history of painting that required such clarity in message. At the same time, he breaks that rule, allowing a conflation of past, present, public, and personal to come together within his dynamic oil paintings surfaces.

As Virtosu notes in another of his articles:

“I would describe the philosophical meaning of my works [as] in synergy with philosopher Simone de Beauvoir who notes that as children we shoulder no responsibility; we live in a ready-made world with ready-made values. As we mature and become acquainted with our freedom we can begin to take matters into our own hands. However, many of us revert back to our childhood ways, trading freedom for security. Why? The problem is that the oppressed often don’t know they are oppressed; they view the world as one that cannot change, as “a natural situation”. The only escape, according to de Beauvoir, is to revolt. ‘The oppressed can fulfill his freedom as a man only in revolt.’

Considering these powerful words in conjunction with Virtosu’s body of work, the parallels are quite clear: Virtosu’s paintings offer a passionate expression of the freedom of the artist and inspire the same sense of freedom in those who view them; in short, they offer the revolution in the guise of fine art.

C 1 2016 009 Taxman Copy C 1 2016 036 The burden of Bill Gates Copy
Taxman, abstract painting The Burden of Bill Gates, abstract painting

The oil paintings compositions consist mostly of the fluid forms intertwining with each other and floating over the painting surface creating intelligent motion and synergetic color balance. The psychology of colors has a profound impact on the choices made by the artist so it directs the viewer subconscious into a world never seen before.The oil paintings motion and the fusion of color makes the artist style unique and innovative among all-time abstract prominent artists. The artists is making a visual suggestion of motion in the character of the depicted title rather that the movement itself.

“It was a revelation that made me create large abstract oil paintings which bring color and joy to people, but also make them think at the same time. I believe they lead them to ponder upon the complexity of life, and how mysterious life’s ways can be. Make them see how human destiny is full of paradoxes, contradictions, which are more often beautiful than not.”, says Gheorghe Virtosu.



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