Parts (small parts) of Lorena Garoiu review

I am honoured to know this artist, and honoured to write at length about her important work. Here I enclose a couple of sentences taken from a larger piece.

Perhaps one of the most astonishing attributes of Garoiu’s portraits is their leaning towards beautification as a natural, almost effortless and organic practice. Inbetween furrowed brows, we see mychorrizic strands and leaf veins…

Other figure artists whose signature forms and styles we can recognise in her work focussed on such facets of portraiture as the putrification of musculature, using line to distort features and discolouration to emphasise the fittings of the human body – Garoiu does all of these things; we see sinew beneath papery flesh, we see jawlines jut harshly and eyelids crack, we see greenish knucklebones sit beneath the stretched skin of old hands. Fascinatingly, Garoiu takes these features of discomfort of bodily distortion, and uses them to her advantage in her lightness of form, her almost spectral dealings with the human face – these figures become less humanoid, more ethereal, washed out and suggested – the strong lines on the bridges of noses and the furrows of hollowed eye sockets merely becoming recognisable features on a memory that has begun to pass, an impression of a person we, the viewer, do not know….

We come away from Garoui’s portraits feeling surprisingly refreshed – we haven’t been subjected to anything voyeuristic, or heavy, or distressing in her paintings. Whilst on one hand, they are incredibly intimate, taking in uncomfortable angles and a repeated direct gaze, they are so skeletal and fragile (in the most beautiful sense) as to pass through the eye of the audience, and leave behind a memory of a memory, something to remind us of the way we truly consider faces….

Here we find an artist of our time and of no times, a relic of social-etherealism, a capture of beauty which lies on the skirts of our memory. How very…human that turns out to be.

About Benjamin Norris

Published writer of short stories, long stories, poems. Well received art critic and cultural commentator for Berlin magazines. Collaborator with operatic societies. Co-writer of fictional historic psycholinguistic journals. Lecturer of architecture and art history at a Budapest University. View all posts by Benjamin Norris

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