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Pod artist goes back to his roots; A Coventry graduate has drawn inspiration from his home country of Romania for his debut exhibition. JULIE CHAMBERLAIN reports.

Byline: JULIE CHAMBERLAIN

BLEAK bits of concrete buildings and overgrown nature combine in a fascinating set of paintings from an artist born at a pivotal point in history.

Mircea Teleaga was born in Romania in 1989, the year of the country's brutal revolution against communism, and the execution of its leader Ceausescu, a sight broadcast around the world on Christmas Day.

He graduated last summer from Coventry University after studying fine art and illustration, and is now artist in residence at the Pod in Coventry city centre, a stint which was due to end but has been extended for a further few months.

Mircea has created the 50-plus works in his first solo exhibition, Exercising Censorship, at the Lewis Gallery in Rugby, while in the UK but has based the material on his memories of places from his childhood, and later discoveries of tragic events that occurred there under communism.

"I need to go back soon and spend a lot of time in that place and then go away and notice it. Coming here has given me an outsider's eye and before I had the insider's eye, and I need these two points of view," he explained.

The paintings vary greatly in size; most have only a code number, or a similar recurring title, mainly Age of Concrete Reason and The Trees Did Not Exist. Many have the same style of tree, one that appears symbolically rootless, and like it has just been placed in the image.

There are also a number of small photographic collages, often combining trees and tower blocks, and with what looks like an explosion or mushroom cloud too, and in these the trees have few signs of roots and are just placed in the landscapes. There is heavy use of impasto in some of the paintings, adding to the atmosphere.

In Execution I there's a big blue tree against an ochre background, and in Forest VIII the forest floor is a big blur.

In The Trees Did Not Exist VII the trees are placed in what looks like a big barn with an orange floor and a harsh light shining through the window. Execution IV has a wall apparently in the middle of the wood which has grown up to not quite mask it.

The images are people-less, but the presence of people is felt through the buildings left behind.

This is a powerful set of paintings and collages, showing talent from an artist making the most of his personal perspective on history.

MICHELANGELO is the subject of a study morning with Margaret-Louise O'Keeffe to be held at Princethorpe College, near Coventry, on February 18. The event is organised by Art Fund volunteers in Warwickshire to mark the 450th anniversary of the artist's death. There will be lectures on an introduction to the life and works of Michelangelo, and the second will reveal the role of his profound Christian faith in his creative life of painting, sculpture, architecture and poetry. Tickets for the event cost PS14 and are available by calling 01788 565166.

THE final exhibition in the Lanchester Gallery Projects series opened last week, with, typically, the largest number of people there has been at an opening there.

The exhibition, Critical Decor: What works! by two artists calling themselves Jeffrey Charles Henry Peacock (JCHP) is packed with lots to look at and read, in a hard-toread typeface, and is at first sight quite baffling, with the gallery divided into lots of small rooms with hanging sheets of Perspex.

Worth a visit to see if you can make sense of it.

THE new exhibition at Rugby's Floor One gallery is entitled Signs of Disorder, and is a show of recent works by Coventry-based painter Bernard Charnley, with imagery focusing on impermanence, chance and identity.

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The Trees Did Not Exist IV, oil on canvas, by Mircea Teleaga
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 31, 2014
Words:643
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