The Knoxville Museum of Art presents Leonardo Silaghi: 3 Paintings, through July 27, 2014. Silaghi’s turbulent canvases document his physical approach to painting while conveying the chaotic transition of his Romanian homeland from a decaying Soviet satellite state to a twenty-first-century society still taking shape.
Although Silaghi’s monumental paintings are loosely based on historic black and white images depicting abandoned Cold War machinery littering his country’s landscape. Conveyor belts, empty vehicles, ductwork, and other wreckage from the past become focal points for his compositions, while serving as surrogates for human activity and symbols of failed systems. The artist’s choice of oversized format echoes the monumental scale of Cold War-era propaganda paintings designed to promote grand visions of national progress and promise. However, Silaghi replaces heroic realist imagery with shadowy, fragmented industrial scenes violently distorted by forceful brushwork and muted by prevailing tones of gray.
Leonardo Silaghi is a graduate of the University of Art and Design in Cluj, Romania. Since 2009, he has been featured with solo exhibitions at the Laika Gallery in Cluj, Marc Straus Gallery in New York, and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, where he was artist in residence in 2010. Recently his works were shown at the exhibition “After the Fall” at the HVCCA in Peeksville and the Knoxville Museum of Art. Through a generous gift of New York collectors Marc and Livia Straus in 2013, and a purchase, the KMA is fortunate to be among the first American museums to have acquired a group of Silaghi’s works.