I was born in Romania in 1980, before the fall of the iron curtain. My family and I escaped Communism and immigrated to the United States in mid-1980’s which shaped some of my earliest memories. In 2002 I received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where my work developed around the broad theme of old and new world nostalgia.
For the most part my work deals with various aspects of memory or recollection. The images are usually nostalgic in a very literal sense. The word nostalgia is derived from the Greek nostos, meaning "return home," and algia, meaning "pain." As an immigrant, I wish to explore the affects of assimilating into another culture. Both the joys and the hardships that accompany wandering from one country to another are evident in the narratives.
The stories run the gamut of human emotions and endeavors and implicitly reference an irrecoverable past. The individuals, objects, and locations have been trudged over by the current of history. They are the victims of circumstance, pollution, human depravity, misuse, war, politics, and rebellion. The stories are also of anonymous antiheroes, political, and social misfits cut down in their youth or abandoned in their old age. However, among the rubble of bombed out buildings we still find hope, love, and beauty in individuals who endure hardship and live their lives to the fullest.
The sepia toned, and monochromatic renderings are in reference to the camera’s ability to document “real life”. Ironically, the narratives reference moments whose time frame is obscure at best, and in all likely-hood may have never occurred. By using photographic references, the paintings maintain two degrees of separation from reality. The layering of images refers to the complexity of memory and how we can take universally recognizable objects and experiences and make them personally significant.
Beauty, hope and a celebration of the evanescence of life are inherent in the narratives. They show that in hindsight, we can find beauty and wonder in the most desperate of moments and the most obscure places. By imbuing inanimate objects with emotions we create a world in which we are affected by everything around us. From sentimentality to fear we let our memories of people and things guide us and shape our future.