Portrait de femme
Dimensions: 18 x 14.5″
Media: acrylic on canvas
In Portrait de Femme, Mazilu references classical portrait styles which position subjects facing or turning slightly away from the artist while a focused light source illuminates the subjects’ face and blurs the background. The painting is at once whimsical and nostalgic, pointing to historical changes in beauty standard and an intimate portrayal of Mazilu’s young female sitter—real or imagined.
While Georges Mazilu’s oeuvre often focuses on the human form—despite his characters’ unusual proportions and physical compositions—his works begin as loose abstractions that gain recognizability through process. Mazilu describes his paintings as mapping the transition from unconscious to conscious processing and often navigate the tension between his ‘will’ and ‘possibilities’. Mazilu was born in Romania and quickly developed an affinity for producing art, eventually pursuing formal training at the prestigious Grigorescu Institute of Fine Arts. After following what might be considered a classical education, Mazilu’s work began to develop a contemporary edge as it encountered the swell of modern art. Mazilu’s works often combine realism with the absurd and touch on the styles of canonical surrealist artists like Hieronymus Bosch or Salvador Dali. Mazilu’s paintings employ muted color palettes and simple backgrounds, drawing viewers’ attention to his carefully rendered characters posing in formal portraiture style or displaying less-than-human behavior.
Georges Mazilu is a contemporary Romanian artist whose works are included in museum collections throughout the world. Museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sofia, Bulgaria, the Denver Art Museum, the Tasmanian Museum, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco hold his works in their permanent collections. Georges Mazilu escaped Romania in 1982. His works feature elements of photorealistic figuration as well as abstracted patterning as learned from Mazilu’s family trade as tailors. Mazilu is regarded one of the top international artists to emerge from post-Ceausescu regime Romania.
by Keira Seidenberg, Art History/Gender Studies student, McGill University