Ana Cristea Gallery is delighted to present Razvan Boar’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Verging away from monochromes and grays, Boar’s latest body of work introduces brightly hued worlds marked by an atmosphere of whimsy, brimming with gesture and energy. These are swirling fairytales set to a contemporary rhythm. Drafted with the ease of pencil drawing, the works on view demonstrate a fluid, reciprocal relationship between drawing and painting. From sources that are logical and universally familiar, Boar empties his subjects of their innate representation (their context and being-in-this-world) to begin a new existence as phantoms of their former selves. These paintings portray a mise-en-scene where technique and meaning simultaneously dissolve into a plethora of possibilities. The resulting ambiguity, in both form and content, creates a cipher for interpretation.
Colors become signposts to the viewer eliciting immediate reactions, with an effect similar to a traffic sign. We register “STOP” even without the words to guide us. While palette and pattern appear to proffer a clear visual code, an eclectic array of signs, symbols, ideographs and exformation contradict this information, heightening the ambiguity of figuration v. abstraction, signification v. allusion, exterior v. interior, presence v. absence. These works explore the semiotics and phenomenology of painting as well as the affective power of art.
Mundane daily objects, modems of entertainment, distorted figures and clichéd characters are layered amongst geometric patterns of circles, diagonals and framing devices. Touchstones of normative desire (a swimsuit cabaret, cocktail waitresses in cocktail glasses) are placed alongside visions of repressed desire (twisted bodies and faceless forms). By blurring the lines between culturally entrenched iconographies of commercialism, such as advertising, cartoon, children’s book illustrations, comics, film and stocks from classic showbiz, and the subjective motifs of dreams, Boar produces a wealth of double entendres. These ambiguities point to the shared context, preconceived notions and implied associations that we carry into every viewing. We are brought to witness how much we rely on unconscious networks to attribute meaning and configure understanding.
Boar’s work enters into the dialogue within contemporary painting without being tied down by its constructs. It also engages with more ubiquitous questions informing Surrealism, fantasy and the uncanny. By creating neoteric modes of expression, he subtly slips a new dynamic into a frequently static arena. However, because the effect of his work is guttural -- speaking to an innate sense of the archetypal (even while referring to the contemporary and tangible pasts) -- some of the incantation of Boar’s spell is lost when the works are subjected to analysis. Boar’s canvases set forth a mythology that invites mystery and allegory into our play.
Razvan Boar (b. 1982, Lugoj) currently lives and works in Bucharest, Romania. In 2011 Boar was the recipient of the Constantin Brancusi fellowship at Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Mihai Nicodim Gallery in Los Angeles in May. He is currently completing his PhD from the National University of Arts, Bucharest.