Marc Straus is delighted to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Leonardo Silaghi from Cluj, Romania. The exhibition will take place in the gallery’s temporary space located at 132 Delancey Street. This will be Silaghi’s first solo show with the gallery and will inaugurate our program.
Leonardo’s large scale canvases that depict industrial machinery such as airplanes, railcars, and large hulking steel echo his country’s Communist history which ended precipitously when Silaghi was just two years old. His society is one of transition and these paintings, at once austere and bold, as well as loosely painted and unfettered, seem to capture the complexities and contradictions of a developing society. Silaghi speaks from the point of view of an artist born without direct contact with Stalinist repression yet experiencing its aftermath through parents and teachers of the generation which preceded him. Meticulously painted imagery is replaced with a freedom of expression that manifests in the broad brush strokes of a new era. The figurative and brooding nostalgia reflected in the works of his young predecessors at the Cluj School, as Adrian Ghenie, Serban Savu and Marius Bercia, are absent in his works. Yet even within this new generation of painters, Silaghi’s individuality stands out moving outside the borders of the inherited pictures and images of those directly preceding him. The power of the new Romanian landscape is no longer within its monuments and deteriorating buildings, its forlorn workers and ghostly visages, but in the brash and powerful machinery of the new.
Silaghi’s images have no apparent story. As Susan Hodara wrote in the Sunday NY TIMES; “The landscapes in ‘Leonardo Silaghi’ are devoid of people, but Mr. Silaghi has endowed them with personality.” (Nov. 28 2010). Similar to the increasing assimilation of western pop culture by the youth in Eastern Europe, in these masterful canvases Silaghi has also veered west; the tension between the pictorial elements and abstract painterliness is reminiscent more of American Abstraction such as DeKooning’s “Women” paintings, and Twombly’s blackboards.
Leonardo Silaghi was born in 1987 in Satu Mare, Romania; he lives and works in Cluj, Romania. He received his MA and BA from the University of Art and Design, Cluj, Romania. Recent solo shows include: Untitled, Laika Gallery, Cluj Romania (2009). He was artist in residence in 2010 at The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY with a solo exhibit in the Fall of 2010. Silaghi was represented by Patrick Painter Gallery at Art Basel Miami Beach, (2010). Recent group shows include: After the Fall, HVCCA, Peekskill, NY (2010) and Knoxville Museum of Art, TN (2011).