Galerie Ron Mandos presents Through Painters’ Eyes, an exhibition of works by influential American artist Hernan Bas and Romanian painter and professor Ioan Sbârciu. These artists share a critical view of our world, a fresh attitude towards painting and a great mastery of the medium. In the gallery’s back room, a selection of works by Anthony Goicolea and Hans Op de Beeck is presented.


Hernan Bas
Hernan Bas is best known for his figurative paintings in which male adolescence plays a central role. The artist is influenced by Decadent writers such as Charles Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde. Loaded with codes and double meanings, the works are rich in references to a wide range of topics including mythology, television shows, the paranormal, religion, the occult, queer vocabulary, subcultures, fashion magazines, horror movies and the iconography of the dandy. Bas interprets classic art historical subjects like landscapes and portraits while celebrating the fragility of emergent masculinities – his subjects seem suspended between adolescence and adulthood.

Bas’ latest body of work started with a suite of monotype portraits titled Supercuts, after a popular low-key chain of hair salons in the US. Bas: ‘When I was assembling the portraits into a grid, I was immediately reminded of the photo’s framed on the wall of Supercuts – those standard model headshots from which you selected the look you want from your stylist.’ The artist does not depict specific individuals: while some portraits are drawn from references, most are freeform, with different results following multiple attempts at the same face. ‘The fact that they all started to feel like the same person was interesting to me: it shows how style is such a construct, so readily interchangeable’. The series also includes a suite of so-called ‘ghosts’, faded images resulting from of a second printing of the monotype. New paintings include Look Your Best, which is based loosely on James McNeill Whistler’s 1871 painting Arrangement in Grey and Black No., famously known as Whistlers Mother. Bas: ‘I wanted to make rather traditional portraits of a very American setting – the gathering spot of male comradery’.

Hernan Bas (Miami, 1978) is based between Detroit and Miami. His work is influenced by the atmosphere of these cities and their emerging art communities. One-man exhibitions of his work were organized by Centro De Arte Contemporáneo Málaga; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah; Kunstverein Hannover; Brooklyn Museum of Art and Bass Museum of Art, Miami, amongst others. The artist participated in group exhibitions at Saatchi Gallery, London; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Tate St. Ives and many more. His work is part of public collections including New York’s Brooklyn Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art; as well as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and more.

Ioan Sbârciu
A professor at the Art and Design University Cluj-Napoca, Ioan Sbârciu educated the generation of young Romanian painters such as Adrian Ghenie, Mircea Suciu, Serban Savu, Marius Bercea and Victor Man who are now taking the international art world by storm. Sbârciu’s use of color, in which a wealth of grey tones plays a central role, and his approach to figuration are leading within the so called ‘Cluj school of painting’. Until the 1989 revolution, Romanian artists barely had access to an international art context. Sbârciu fought for reforms in art education, thus paving the way for the current international appreciation of Romanian artists.

Ioan Sbârciu’s highly expressive work is inspired by mythology, classicism and the riddles of the Transylvanian landscape. Growing up, he spent many hours in the Rodna Mountains with their glacier lakes, primeval forests and hidden caves. Sbârciu observes that mystery slowly but surely seems to disappears from our world – this is why it is a central element in his paintings. Suggestion and intuition are more important than representation; it is the viewer who is responsible for the interpretation.

Ioan Sbârciu (Feldru, RO, 1948) is one of the most influential Romanian artists. He is widely appreciated by critics and colleagues and his work is loved by a large audience. Sbârciu is Ph.D. professor of Visual Arts at the University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca and holds various board positions in the cultural field of Romania. He has had dozens of one-man exhibitions. Sbârciu’s work has been shown internationally in Italy, Japan, Germany, the US, France and beyond. In recent years his work is regularly included as cornerstone in group exhibitions about the ‘Cluj school of painting’.

Performance: Jean Salazar Tavera a.k.a. ShinShan
Break dancer Jean Salazar Tavera, also known as Bboy ShinShan, will give a performance during the opening of the exhibition. Only 17 years of age, he already won may prizes including the World Street Dance Championships, Holland’s Got Talent and Kunstbende. During the performance, ShinShan will respond to the works of Hernan Bas, who, like himself, has a Cuban background.

Installation views


ABOUT Hernan Bas

Hernan Bas (born 1978 in Miami, Florida, United States) is an artist based in Detroit, Michigan. He graduated in 1996 from the New World School of the Arts in Miami. Bas is known for his depictions of waifs and dandies, who are somewhat based on his own experiences, as well as his work with the material SlimFast and the paranormal. Overtime, Bas says, these characters have grown in his paintings and taken on different roles. Queerness often influences his work in the form of waifs and other young men, typically recurrent characters in his work. Bas owns a building in Detroit that was renovated by Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller, the couple behind Detroit electronic music act Adult. The building is on a block called Service Street noted for the number of diverse and accomplished artists that work there, including techno music pioneer Derrick May.


ABOUT Ioan Sbârciu

Ioan Sbârciu was Born in 1948 in Feldru, RO
He lives and works in Cluj-Napoca, RO

Ioan Sbârciu professes an undeterred admiration for the classics and deploys a painterly style that has visible affinities with the (neo)expressionists. Ioan Sbârciu also possesses the artistic temperament of a romanticist, for whom art needs to be mysterious, daring and tensely beautiful and who hopes that artworks can be sensuous translations of states of mind and troubling feelings. However, Sbârciu is an utterly contemporary painter, as he is acutely aware of the present un-tenability of such a utopian paradigm. All these make his oeuvre both fueled by a sort of hybris and smoothened by a deep melancholia.

Sbârciu is an artist fascinated by beauty, but a beauty that stems from tension. His works are gestural and yet carefully composed, and the chromatic finesse of the painterly surfaces reveals itself fully only to the patiently scrutinizing eye, which takes the time to discover, for example, the arresting presence of dots and brushstrokes of pure color amid areas of sophisticated, colored shades of grey. He practices painting with the fervent passion and the unshakeable faith of a devotee yet scrutinizes and reflects on the contemporary potential of this venerable medium with the plain inquisitiveness of the sorcerer’s apprentice. Thus, he paints on various materials, from the habitual canvas to the delicate silk and often mixes oil paint with materials as mundane, unexpected and sensuous as sand or ash.

All of Sbârciu’s works possess a monumental, dramatic dimension, but still offer a surprising subtlety, the most prominent strength of his art being precisely the ability to coherently and poignantly blend the opposites: dynamicity of composition and daintiness of chromatic juxtapositions, raw expressiveness of the painterly pigment and elaborated contrasts, forcefulness and elegance. Passionate about painting, with an overflowing energy, constantly working in his studio, always inspired and creative, his activity as an artist consists of an impressive number of national and international, solo and group exhibitions, his works being part of state and private collections in Romania, Germany, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Scotland, Poland, Japan, Canada, Argentina and the USA, appreciated everywhere, recognized both by critics and by the general public.