„Labyrinth Landscape” is a metaphor of Ioan Sbârciu’s journey into his own pictorial practice. An incomplete path towards releasing the painting of all its conventions.
The landscape, one of the major themes in art history, involves scrutiny, investigation and also the possibility of abandonment, self-loss in the repetitive, obsessive labyrinth of nature. The artist’s studio is, equally, a space of obsession and repetition. Each time the painter enters the studio leaves behind the landscape, the scent and the texture of nature, replacing them with the materiality of painting that transfigures reality on canvas. As art critic James Elkins explains this process, the effect is similar to the water reaching the boiling point and then disappearing,” an apparition hovering in the fictive space beyond the picture plane.” The studio is the laboratory of the alchemist who transforms matter and seeks the impossible edge between illusion and reality.
The current exhibition is neither a conclusion nor an overview of Ioan Sbârciu’s achievements so far; it is about courage – which in his case was brought by age / the collected human experience and teaching – as a venture deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of his own practice, on paths that sometimes lead to the darkest places on the personal map, shrouded in twilight, but most often to bright places marked by tension and pictorial paradoxes.