The Sublime, Transcendental Art of Marian Trutulescu

Written by Deianira Tolema and Brian J. Spies

Marian Trutulescu’s malerisch, symbolic, free-form narratives of Identity and Expression evoke conflicted feelings, the sense that matters of paramount importance are going on, and that there is not a consensus on a course of action. That is the case amongst individuals, that expression is varied and not always in accord, with sometimes subtle differences in variation.

Work in progress by Marian Trutulescu, Courtesy the Artist

Trutulescu’s forms, which surrealistically evoke both space and time and an effort to traverse them within the frame, rely heavily upon early 20th century masters like Dali and Braque. However, whereas those masters seemed to be grasping at a glimpse of the unconscious in the wake of a Post World War I world that had witnessed a reality worse than any nightmares, Trutulescu’s work is more like that of a builder, constructing a reality and a sense of self through exploration of form. One is reminded of the contemporary figurative painter Bruce Samuelson, whose own academic deconstructed forms allude to the fragility of the self. But whereas Samuelson uses his background as a classically trained painter[1] to create works that show the fluid nature of form in space, Trutulescu uses the micro of form in space to explore the macro of much weightier themes.

Marian Trutulescu in his studio, Courtesy the Artist

Works like Imago Mundi II, which combine the architectural and the historical with the human and the emotive, explore a sense of wonder and awe. This work disorients the viewer by presenting something both beyond reality and regardlessly evocative of its process. Like a painterly depiction of Edward Muybridge’s photographic studies condensed into a single frame, these works both present something unseeable and yet entire comprehensible.

Imago Mundi II by Marian Trutulescu, Courtesy the Artist

In doing this, Trutulescu reveals a deeply spiritual response to contemporary life, much like Leibniz, whose assertion that, “There is an infinity of possible ways in which to create the world, according to the different designs which God could form, and that each possible world depends on certain principal designs or purposes of God which are distinctive of it…”[2] Trutulescu finds beauty amid the confusion. This belief that confusion and even chaos do not preclude the divine from being present in our everyday experiences is critical to contemporary culture’s continued struggles with reconciling the limitations of classical liberalism.

“The Concept of identity is a difficult one”[3] but, “the concept of identity is as indispensable as it is unclear.”[4] In Trutulescu’s endeavor into Identity and Expression there is no clear-cut statement: faces blend and fade, become enmeshed, duplicate, triplicate, and multiply and divide, and disappear entirely. The characters are both metamorphosing into composition and decomposition, perhaps even reflecting an uncertain quantum state of being in many states of existence at once. “It is only when identities become uncertain that it becomes impossible or very difficult to define oneself as belonging to a larger whole, that it becomes possible to claim an identity.”[5]. Ultimately though, he seeks to acknowledge the chaos of contemporary life while also expressing wonder at its beauty and ability to inspire. These works do not, like another figurative painter of deconstructed forms, Francis Bacon, evoke horror or trauma. Trutulescu’s work revels in the junction of the human and the divine, the messiness of life and it’s continuing power in spite of and maybe because of that entanglement. However difficult this endeavor of creating a sense of self outside of and within a greater world is, Trutulescu seems committed and hopeful in it.

Work by Marian Trutulescu, Courtesy the Artist

Work by Marian Trutulescu, Courtesy the Artist


[1] CV; J. Cacciola Gallery.

[2] Look, Brandon C., Leibniz’s Modal Metaphysics, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

[3] Taifel, Henri ed. 1982. Social Identity and Intergroup Relations. Cambridge, Great Britain. Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.

[4]   Taifel, Henri ed. 1982. Social Identity and Intergroup Relations. Cambridge, Great Britain. Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.

[5] Hack, Robert D. ed. 2004. Keywords: Identity. New York, New York. Other Press


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