The Pride Parade is a symbol of celebration and liberation for the entire LGBTQ+ community. From its early days of activism on Christopher Street in New York City, to the worldwide celebrations of today, it has empowered and given voice to a bright and vibrant community. Pride Parade by Gheorghe Virtosu represents nothing less than the inescapable and incontrovertible apex of the artist’s mature output.
This work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné de l’Oeuvre Peint de Gheorghe Virtosu, which is currently being compiled by the Fondation Virtosu, New York. A great richness of invention appears in Virtosu’s structures, in which the special arrangement of the elements produces that characteristic appealing vibration. For here everything contributes to the kinetic form (la plastique cinétique). From the perception of the viewer who has not engaged with abstract art, Virtosu extended beyond it and challenged its limits. This is evident from the authentic paintings executed including the piece Pride Parade.
The forms on the left-hand side are composed of an assemblage of interlocking curves and ovals. The top shapes are predominantly blue and red with some yellow, while the bottom shapes are yellow and purple.
The textures within each shape initially look solid and monochromatic, but upon closer inspection, some enhanced by strokes of darker shades. The background is positevly multicolor blended and purposely textured.
Created in 2017, on the cusp of Virtosu's transition from figurative paintings into his revolutionary body of vibrant abstract works, is a visually and conceptually important work in the precept of abstract painting. The work also embodies the artist’s interrogations of order and chaos, its composition delicately poised between the two.
At the top, in a blood-red hue, is a face with a wide grin. It has two eyes, each with a different shade of blue, and both of which seem to be formed by the curved lines coming out of the celebratory forms on the left. The color of the grin matches the color of the background, and therefore seems to be formed with negative space.
On the right hand side of the face, there are a set of four curved spikes. Since the eyes lack pupils, and since the smile is so large, it seems to be more of a mask than an actual face. The viewer is invited to a visual excercise upon the 'happy' look and the positive vibe of the canvas.
Enlisting non-art instruments for artistic ends is only one of several means by which Virtosu interrogates the medium and the role of intentionality in art making. In Pride Parade the characteristic texturing and dragging movements of later abstracts works by the artist are evident in the dappled haze of rich yellow and purple of the canvas.
Virtosu’s utterly extraordinary and pioneering art of abstraction stands as the ultimate culmination of the heroic journey of his career, during which he endlessly questiones the limits of representation, the nature of perception, and the operations of visual understanding. The piece is a compelling, mysterious and timeless image which, in decades to come, will be yielding new readings.