Maia Oprea

Maia Oprea

Location: Romania

I am a young Romanian artist, currently living and working in Inotesti, Romania. I have a BFA in Painting from the Bucharest National Arts University, and I also pursued temporary fine arts studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design (GA,USA) followed by an Erasmus at the Ecole d'Art de Grenoble (France).

I follow the metamorphosis of my own creative self into very different appearances. In a state of infinitely extended perplexity, I wait for the production of the next rupture that will --again-- allow me to discover another inner self. An inner self gifted with an inexhaustable capacity of renewal.

Over the years I have undertaken projects in many different medias and techniques (such as video art, photography, graphic arts, sound art, art in public spaces), but I am nevertheless committed to creating and revealing spaces between opposition and cohesion within painting, drawing and sculpture.

My paintings are usually the result of a fiery war, which I attend as an active spectator, and of the countless transformations occurring during work. What I often propose myself is almost meant not to reach a purpose. The importance lies in the creative process, but I must admit that my work is just as much about the finished product. The purpose behind my latest artwork –which is turning more and more abstract -- is to explore the expressive properties of paint and other materials through mostly physical and poetic processes, turning them into something edged with spirit.
I use very diverse materials, ranging from pencil, charcoal, pastels, tempera, gouache, acrylics, oils, to modelling clay, textiles, wood and metal .Aiming for a spiritual experience, my painting is governed by feeling, asking from the viewer as much intensity of inner life as I submit myself.


Thoughts of ...

My lastest figurative artworks.

Chest “Chest”

mixed technique on canvas, 60 x 60 cm, 2011
"Chest" is made in a personal technique, through the acrylic transfer on canvas of a drawing made in pencil. It combines a graphic background with a sketch representing a nude female sitting on a cube. At a close look one can see remnants of flaky paper resulted over the transfer process, seemingly traces of the moment when the woman, motionless, knowing that she is seen, relaxes her back... the negative of an instant that was well hidden face-down in a deep chest, until someone would scratch the surface and the memory gaps would flood the present.

The Thought of Lady M. “The Thought of Lady M.”

A nocturnal atmosphere, in which each forehead hides a consciousness that cuts and cuts and cuts, like a guillotine blade. Everything exhales complicity and exhaustion. Each character stays silent and keeps hidden under its tongue, a black and wild thought, like a young mouse, a "corpse" who refuses to become word. Therefore, we are, somehow, in a dostoievskian situation, because each person buries behind its mimic a fault which does not fit elsewhere than in unspoken thoughts ... There is one character in the painting who knows that any guilty man plays with the snakes, with some snakes that only he can see. Guess who is it?

Blooming Faces “Blooming Faces”

oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm, 2009

Tamarind “Tamarind”

50 x 51 cm, airbrush on canvas, 2012
This is my first airbrush painting on canvas.

Incomplete “Incomplete”

70 x 50 cm, pencil on canvas, 2012


A Dog's topography “A Dog's topography”

mixed technique on canvas, 144 x 97 cm, 2012
There is no void. There is no fullness. But there is a new substance which composes itself and decomposes, being reducible to the inner image, whose form is strictly its realisation. Every time another one. Without surrender, without omissions, without economy of forms. And last but not least, no guide posts.


Apuseni Mountains “Apuseni Mountains”

The Apuseni Mountains (Romanian: Muntii Apuseni ) is a mountain range in Transylvania, Romania, which belongs to the Western Carpathians. Their name translates from Romanian as Mountains "of the sunset", and they are famous for their caves and karst forms. I dreamt of seeing them since childhood. One early summer day I headed for the western mountains, and I discovered some ravishing landscapes, with neverending stone trails.

In the Forest “In the Forest”

I would like to convey with this image the smell of wet moss from the surroundings of the romanian medieval citadel Sighisoara and the following quote by da Vinci: "Ah, researcher of things, don't be satisfied knowing things as nature produced them typically, but try to know the origins of things as they are drawn in your spirit."


Dominated by a fever of lines, the series of abstract paintings “LINES” could be characterized by the very definition given by Michel Seuphor to abstractionism: "A painting should be called abstract when we cannot recognize any of the objective reality which consists our lives' normal environment; in other words, a painting is abstract as soon as we are obliged, by the absence of any sensible reality, to consider it as painting in itself, to judge it by virtue of values extrinsic to any representations or any reminders of the representation."(own translation)

Hatred against words who do not help me is greater, as I have no possibility to punish them for their disobedience. Therefore, sometimes, I talk in “lines”...

Chromatic Pollution “Chromatic Pollution”

mixed technique on paper, 100 x 70 cm, 2009, Framed

"Chromatic Pollution" is a mix of lines, their combination being the result both of spontaneity and that of long searches. Apparently, the work is plane, but it is actually a kind of relief, a fret obtained by patching the two foam boards. Also, "Chromatic Pollution" seems to be the "measurer" of electrical energy that flows in real time, revolving around the Pentagon that it mimics.

Sleeping Circles “Sleeping Circles”

mixed technique on paper, 70 x 100 cm, 2005

The artwork "Sleeping Circles" is one of my first abstract attempts, the forerunner stage of many future searches into abstractionism. It was born after the return from a residence at Hope University in Liverpool and after visiting London, two cities whose color fervor was a shock to me at that time. The materials used are acrylic, string, and tracing paper.

Fugue “Fugue”

acrylic on foam board, 100 x 70 cm, 2008, framed

When I presented this artwork at the National Opera of Bucharest, a visitor asked me with plenty of satisfaction, as he presumed to have guessed the hidden intentions behind the painting "Fugue": << This is the map of Romania, is it not ? It's the West-East axis ! >>. I have not disappointed him, on the contrary. I want to share with you what I did not foresee, but this may be not so far from the truth of the lines, which for me were just a "fugue". Coincidentally, the work is painted in Budapest and without the slightest "patriotic nostalgia."

Line Prisoner “Line Prisoner”

acrylic on canvas, 45 x 30 cm, 2008

A network of light. You can try to remake the reverse route, detaching each line separately. You'll never succeed, because you're already in their midst.

Traffic “Traffic”

mixed technique on canvas, 120 x 100 cm, 2011

"Traffic" is like a contemporary carpet, seemingly woven at the loom of the crowded streets, in the infernal sound of the engines. But there is a draw back: make yourself as small as a Tin Soldier and imagine the congestion that's seen at rush hour, with plastic eyes, on board of a toy helicopter. Technical Note: there are sketches inserted on the back of the canvas, which has been cut for this specific purpose.

Collages of Old Sketches

The series of collages that I make have become a mnemonic constant in the course of my artistic route. I like to recombine old or very old drawings (from childhood), changing their appearance and giving them a whole new meaning. I use glue and bone glue to stick them together, but I feel that these aren't sufficient to secure the permanence of the new environment offered to the newly cut sketches. This is why I saw them. Sewing them one into another is as if I stitched lost memories. In the novel "Bricked in Windows" Alexandru Vona writes: "I do not know how our life would be if we remove all poor secrets out, if we discover the reasons which hide behind the tiny inexplicable disappearances of time". (own translation)

Evolution “Evolution”

tehnique mixte sur papier, 75 x 55 cm, 2009

Homage “Homage”

mixed technique on paper, 75 x 55 cm, 2009

Paper Bag Trilogy III “Paper Bag Trilogy III”

mixed technique on paper, 45 x 60 cm, 2007

Memento Mori “Memento Mori”

mixed technique on paper, 61 x 48 cm, 2008

Pest “Pest”

mixed technique on paper, 90 x 70 cm, 2008


"Charlie Chaplin once told Jean Cocteau that after the film will be finished <<the tree must be shoken>> in order to keep only what remains on the branches". (Rudolf Arnheim, "Art and visual perception", own translation)
The "LUDUS" project was developed during 2009 in an effort to ignore, in relation to the aesthetics, this principle of parcimony. It is also evidence of a certain age in my painting, an age at which I will probably never return. Age at which we want to eat all the apples and never shake one tree.
Apparently a number of leading threads, of hidden stories, and yet no, the story never begins. In „Ludus” the only importance lies in the joy of storytelling. There is no actual narration, but a play of meanings drawn from disparate elements. What unites these elements are precisely their differences in spatial planes, in artistic structure and in their intent of autonomy, thus generating a variety of irrational conflicts.
As a mention, all these paintings have been realised after live models (including myself), and not after photographs. The models ranged from people I barely knew to friends I’ve known for a long time. During the painting sessions I have always asked them to talk a lot, thus their words highly influenced my figurative initial compositions. I thus consider these models to be secondary authors of these works.

The Aethetics of Risk “The Aethetics of Risk”

oil on canvas, 140 x 90 cm, 2009

The title belongs to a book frighteningly bushy. The book can be seen, white and avid to puzzle its reader, on the top shelf. Otherwise, the entire expressionist deflagration is inspired by the famous cynical and hallucinating dystopia of Pascal Bruckner, the "divine child" and Simone de Beauvoir's novel, "All men are mortal". In other words, the painting "Asthetics of Risk" is an artistic setting of acute impressions of reading. If you wish, it’s a compendium of image reviews, in which imposes the echo still going through changes after reading, and not the critical verdict.

The Island of Another “The Island of Another”

oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm, available for sale, 2009

The word island from the title represents the island of a novel written by a French writer, on which the Internet does not provide much information, besides the fact that he is still alive and that his work can easily fit into four suitcases. It's about "The Island of Another", of the unmistakable Jacques Perry. There is neither time nor place for a summary of the book, but I advise you to put your hands on this stunning novel, a true masterpiece of loneliness! "The Island of Another" illustrates one of the novel’s themes: the double duplication. A storm forced the hero of Jacques Perry to dock in the evening on an island. He finds shelter etween the walls of a house whose owner is away, and while exploring so deeply the existence of the owner, without realizing it, he duplicates into the life of the other . In other words, the characters in the painting "The Island of Another" experiment what G. Bachelard called the dual status of duplication.

The Art Market “The Art Market”

mixed technique on canvas, 70 x 100 cm, 2009

art market, portrait, mixed media, acrylics, plexiglass, game, artistic, joy, surreal, imaginary, portrait

The Joker “The Joker”

mixed technique on canvas, 55 x 70 cm, 2009

Ludus II “Ludus II”

mixed technique on canvas, 70 x 100 cm, 2009

Ludus I “Ludus I”

mixed technique on canvas, 60 x 90 cm, 2009

"Ludus I" has a more delicate story: I consider this work to lack "attendees", because of its lack of chromatic "diplomacy". What can I say? Nonsense. Aside from this, through "Ludus" I can speak, perhaps more autistic than in other works, of an age when you ‘fabricate’ childhood without ever realizing that you haven’t yet exhausted your own childhood...

Pondering Realism “Pondering Realism”

oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm, 2009

I consider it my last canvas belonging to a long realist period. The nude is an allegory of realist painting in itself, which, as follows, will be covered and replaced by abstractionism.

RO'46 “RO'46”

oil on canvas, 100 x 120 cm, 2009

The character in "RO'46" is called Uncle 'Joe and fills quite a slice of reality. Uncle 'Joe was born in 1946, and is now unemployed. But before he became unemployed, Uncle 'Joe was certainly the best and the most expressive live model of the National University of Arts in Bucharest. No, "RO'46" has no anti-capitalist message. No, "RO'46" is not a left-wing approach. There is pity on this character, but on him as a person and not as a potential ideological archetype. Anyway... in "RO'46" I tried to capture the exhaustion of a man who will leave behind as legacy what putrefaction itself leaves behind: a pile of bones. In this case, a pile of bones that once made a flawless skeleton, the visual "food" of generations of visual artists.

The Reader's Testament “The Reader's Testament”

oil on canvas, 120 x 140 cm, 2009


"Today" has its roots in the disgust caused by excessive intimacy with the self, a self that doesn't stand itself. The desire to get to the surface of its depth results in some "realities of live being, that are rebuild every moment, that connect one day to the other, throwing bridges over gaps, over amorphous states and irretrievable absences" (Lucian Raicu, "Reflections of the Creative Spirit"). The slightly shocking character (even for me) of these paintings does not seek to support the proclamations of Andre Breton, that "beauty will be convulsive or will not be at all", instead it seeks to portray those remains of personal seizures, which - not without surprise - we discover that we share with everyone else.

Hand in Hand “Hand in Hand”

120 x 160 cm, mixed technique, 2012

Hunger “Hunger”

70 x 70 cm, oil on canvas, 2012

Black Yellow “Black Yellow”

70 x 50 cm, mixed technique on canvas, 2012

Internal Form “Internal Form”

70 x 50 cm, watercolor on paper, 2012

Unfitness “Unfitness”

70 x 50 cm, tempera on paper, 2012


It is a pictorial investigation centered on sleep, as the title indicates. But not the sleep as the mind bridge to the world of dreams, but rather as a form of alienation of the being from the flow of the world. The paintings were realised after models – friends or aquiantances-, but I wasn't actually interested in the act of painting after nature, but rather in capturing those uniquely encripted moments in which these persons escaped present time and space, leaving themselves caught in a slow and cumbersome leakage towards sleep. These very short moments have revealed to me the real profoundness of sleep, as a representation of the dissapearance and the alienation of the represented object itself, despite the fact that the actual "sleeps (as a plural!)" do not imply the act of sleeping, but rather the emergence of a maximum vulnerability of the inside, a kind of preparatory "step" to our immersion into sleep.
The compositions were initially thought as rigorous drawings. These eventually led to some rough color sketches that still show the initial gestural structure, confering a sort of transparency to the phases of the creative process.

Insomnia “Insomnia”

150 x 170 cm (3 canvases of 50 x 170 cm), oil on canvas, 2012