A fresh graduate of the University of Toronto’s small but prestigious Master of Visual Studies program, painter Bogdan Luca dishes out an intimate collection of narrative canvases at Le Gallery, opening this Friday night.
Though thinner and less abstracted, Luca’s oils reveal the clear influence of Francis Bacon in their loose and choppy renderings of people and places and their controlled palettes. As an Eastern European now living in the cool comforts of Canada, this young artist epitomizes the role of the voyeur with his keen eye and almost obsessive collecting of visual details, pulled from walking the streets, surfing the web, consuming magazines and immersing in film.
Using this technicolor archive of memories of life in Toronto, snippets from media, and fragments thieved from Western history, Luca arranges his compositions in the manner of a storyteller. By leaving the narratives slightly translucent and obscure, he encourages viewers to read their own interpretations. When collected together and discussed, these personal readings result in communal understandings and hint at our shared system of values and community.
In 2010, Luca was commissioned to produce an epic-scale public art piece for Brock University’s new dining building. “Reverberation” is a 60-foot long by 8-foot tall mural depicting nearly 200 years of history of the Niagara region. Images in the massive work range from scenes of the War of 1812 and the role of First Nations in the area all the way through to the creation of Brock University. A tale of history with a modern twist, the piece spans the entire length of the dining hall.
Since the launch of the mural in November of last year, Luca has been focused on preparing the works for this solo show, his second at Le Gallery. Titled “The Roving Iconist”, the exhibition offers images of conflict, disaster, spectacle and entertainment and aims to explore how images are used to tell stories and manipulate bias.
“The Roving Iconist”
1183 Dundas Street West, Toronto
June 22 – July 17, 2011
Opening reception June 24, 7-10pm
Review by Randy Gladman for The Ministry of Artistic Affairs.