418 Contemporary Art Gallery was created in March 2008 by Dr. Joana Grevers, a Romanian-German art historian living and working between Munich, Bucharest & Cetate, Romania and Guy K. Williamson, an American entrepreneur and businessman. Our aim is to promote and to connect young, emerging artists from Romania to the international art scene and to represent already established key figures of Romanian-born artists, who had already been recognised on the international art scene and market.
Our first six years of existence were dedicated to the extensive promotion of young emerging artists, such as Cristian Răduță (a Bucharest-based sculptor), Anca Bodea (a painter from the School of Cluj) and Ștefan Radu Crețu (a Sibiu-based sculptor and installation artist), through solo-shows in the gallery space, external collaborations with other art institutions in Romania and abroad, catalogues and their yearly presence in the summer workshops from Druga Mansion in Cetate, South-Western Romania. In the same time, we focused on the promotion and the increasing visibility of the already established artists, such as Romul Nutiu (1932-2012), the representative of Abstract Expressionism in Romania from the early sixties, whom we have promoted since our beginnings. Lately, we started a fresh and rewarding collaboration with the Romanian-born artist Sorel Etrog (1933, Jassy – 2014, Toronto), the Romanian-born German artist Diet Sayler (1939, Timisoara) and with Vincentiu Grigorescu (1923-2012), a Romanian-born abstract artist, living in Italy since the early 70s.
Our inclination towards abstraction and works in an expanded field is intertwined with the more classical, but still intriguing approaches of the figurative. Nonetheless, all our activities intent to create a solid and reliable profile of a Bucharest-based contemporary art gallery, in a fresh and emerging art market from South-Eastern Europe.
Maria Manea Bordeanu’s dystopian painting is like the silence before the storm. Serene, clear and well-illuminated, the scenes selected by the artist seem to predict an ending, nobody knowing which kind, and her fascination for a staged world, as seen from a cinematographic perspective represents the lecture key of these paintings.
The artist has a special connection with photography. It becomes a transparent screen through which she sees the world. It is also the main source of inspiration for her paintings, which are almost always based on static image, and not on nature itself. Her realistic painting method is a slow and thorough process that makes time flow slowly, too. The image is final after dozens of layers and perfectionist corrections of shapes and textures, of a rare preciousness. Her topics vary from silent fragments of intimacy to landscapes and complex, vivacious scenes, closely observed by the artist, both morphological and conceptual.
The stages of construction of these painted dioramas are complex, everything starts with the identification of subjects in the surrounding nature, in movies or in her personal collection of photographs, it continues with the selection of the most relevant captured moment and culminates with its transposition on a compatible canvas and the painting process, with successive layers of fine oil colours.
She creates a collection of images related as signification, but different from the content point of view. The tiles (canvases) do not arrange as in a puzzle, but they harmonize and create a sequential story, like a summary of an extended narration.
Travelling is also a source of inspiration for the artist, because it activates “the third eye” of the camera, capturing all the details. It later becomes painted subjects and reflection material, such as the habitat she visited during a voyage to Canada.
The artificial habitat is a recurring theme, it appears both as a microclimate thorough description and as a metaphor for an unbearable world. The same importance is to be found in the movie stills, artificial through their finitude, through the imposed boundaries of the screen and the camera’s line of sight.
The fragility of nature often announces a dying era, an abused, groaning planet and a consumers’ world producing too much trash. Although our minds, science and gadgets are more and more developed and refined, the trash we produce weighs enough to create serious imbalances that can lead to a disastruous, apocalyptic ending. The beauty of these artificial habitats unveils the same type of rottenness hidden behind Rococo wigs and dresses.
The luxurious dress theme and the detail seen as a quotation from the classics is an old preoccupation of Maria Manea, as she had been the author of an impressive „Ingres seen from a lens” series while she was a student. She had selected an apparently unsignificant fragment from a famous painting by Ingres and replicated it on a gigantic scale, changing the perspective and philosophy completely. She continued rendering fashion and fashion models, in the same elegant, luxurious key, in the same time with small fragments of kitsch gewgaws and sweet memorabilia. This path led her to the point she reached today, when she follows different directions in the same time, in order to render the same concept.
Maria Manea Bordeanu (b.1982) has got a MFA degree in Painting from UNA Bucharest since 2007. She has been working independently as a painter, photographer and 3D artist after graduation. She participated in several collective exhibitions, such as Transmissionen III (2006, University of Arts and Design, Stuttgart), Zoom In (2007, Artis Gallery, Bucharest), The Silk Exhibition: Presence, Affinity and Loss (2011, LC Foundation Bucharest), The Other Body (2011, Victoria Art Center Bucharest), Fur & Skin (2011, Artyourself Bucharest). She has been represented by 418 Gallery since 2011. Final Scene is her first solo-show.
Simona Vilău, March 2015