Sunday, July 03, 2011

"The Roving Iconist" by Bogdan Luca - the images

Bogdan Luca’s newest exhibition, The Roving Iconist, is now open at LE Gallery in Toronto until July 17th, 2011.

Bogdan Luca is a  Toronto based artist; he has graduated from the Master of Visual Studies program at University of Toronto in 2010.                  
In The Roving Iconist Luca presents a new series of paintings whose themes coalesce in a hyper reality of interrupted narratives & whose transitions from one realm to another we are invited to explore.

                The Roving Iconist by Bogdan Luca  at LE Gallery Toronto, June 2011

Luca’s June 2010 show, Unmoorings, had drawn its viewers inside an uncanny sensorial experience, built on the platform of an eerie palette:  a unique blend of euphoric colors that appeared to lift the viewer into a puzzling and overflowing visual scenery.

In the fall of 2010 a baroque & flamboyant palette of deeper, richer, earthen tones had turned  Luca’s mural Reverberations, commissioned by Brock University, into a one of a kind modern painting on the War of 1812.                

Most of paintings included in The Roving Iconist retain the large canvas format Luca has created for Reverberations.

The palette Luca employs in his newest exhibition appears however to have subtly shifted.

 It’s a shift meant to accompany the mood of the paintings: a stark, brooding universe on the verge of waiting for both movement and hiatus to be reconciled inside a suspenseful fracture of reality.

But can this reconciliation really happen?

Let’s take a closer look at some the paintings in the series.

In It’s Me The Moron, a rickety  funicular appears to be gliding out of control towards an entrance at the base of a glacier. Three children, oblivious to the impending catastrophe, are immersed in a playful interlude inside a red circle.
Out of the icy depths, an enigmatic character emerges - a bluish, spectral incarnation of the netherworld.


                                                    It's Me, The Moron - detail

In Unknown Knows a team of prospectors are taking aim at a central piece which is an entry to a tunnel. The black turbulence of the tunnel may be described in this blog post and seen in the picture, yet little compares to the sensation one experiences up close.

The tunnel is an aura of death, darkness and unknown from which nothing much emerges. There is no grief or hopelessness associated with it. It is its cold, agitated umbrage that makes us halt: a dark Hades looms on the horizon.

                                               The Unknown Knowns - detail 

Two hooded figures appear to be taking measures and getting ready to advance into the unknown.

Fast asleep, the two characters at the front of the painting are oblivious to the entire scene, as if on a different plane, perhaps dreaming up the events, perhaps feeling excluded from what came to pass.

No One Is Really Listening is a  composition in which the margins of reality come tumbling down through rusty & broken railways.

It is also the piece that has been chosen to epitomize The Roving Iconist series - for several reasons perhaps.

                                                 No One Is Really Listening - detail

There is one I could discern - a sidereal explosion of color at the base of the painting that acts as a clarion call to our senses. A hard to ignore and supremely surprising call that attunes us to a half witnessed story.

In A Matter of Circumstance, a structure resembling a bridge and a sluice through which water is gushing out marks the upcoming transformation that we sense. Up front, an island of burnt rubber acts as a deserted continuous present, from which a group of runners attempts to distance itself.    

Articles on the web on The Roving Iconist by Bogdan Luca:


Bogdan Luca
June 22 - July 17
Opening June 24, 2011,  7-10 pm
1183 Dundas Street West Toronto, ON, M6J 1X6 
Director: Wil Kucey
Telephone: 416.532.8467 


Conrad DiDiodato said...


a wonderful 'reading' of the iconist series: insightful and sympathetic to artistic intentions.

As you say, much is lost to the viewer who cannot be there to see Lucas's work up close. But from what I see and read in your post I sense a rebirth of a lost 'modernist' project (of the kind I hope to see emerge in contemporary Canadian poetry): Luca's is emblematic (is that the right word?)of an emerging Canadian classicism in style that mixes representational & impressionist palettes with skill & passion.

I like the 'iconist' in roving iconist: I like (especially in the young) to see art employ a medium that's not just overtly dissonant & anti-closural, as so much experimental work is. I'm reasonably certain I'd feel, if I were at LE Gallery, the ambition & majesty of design: the largeness of art itself.

Thanks for sharing Luca's work here, Irina. I wish I had more the specialist's expertise to do full justice to this amazing artwork.

Irina M. said...

Hello Conrad:

Thank you for your thoughts on this post and your own insights into Bogdan Luca's art.

For me it is a fascinating personal experience(and frankly sheer joy)to be able to follow along in his artistic journey.

I'm trying to learn from Bogdan & his peers and to find my bearings in a fresh and vibrant world.

Is it a glimpse of this realm that makes us ponder whether there might be
"an emerging Canadian classicism in style that mixes representational & impressionist palettes with skill & passion" that you refer to in your note?

I sincerely don't know - but I am quite interested in finding out where new roads opened by young artists take us.

I appreciate your kind words!

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