Roman Tolici


2014 – 2015


Presented in 2016, the exhibition is curated by the Oxford-trained, Swiss-based art critic Simon Hewitt, a regular contributor to The Art Newspaper, Art + Auction and The Huffington Post.

Many artists, after achieving success, stick to the style that has brought them it. Not Tolici. Although his brushwork retains its Ingresque precision, now with an even defter touch, his vision has morphed from photo-realist to surrealist. It is impossible to explain the eleven paintings in SIMVLACRVM in rational fashion.

They come in different sizes and formats – some large, some small; some vertical, some horizontal; one can even hang at a diagonal. There is humour, irony, hope, hopelessness, magnificent painting and neo-Vorticist spatial awareness. Some canvases are busy, others almost empty. The underlying message? You tell me. Each work creates a world of its own. These paintings exist to be absorbed.

I first saw his works in 2008 at Bucharest’s MNAC: a vast, Ceaușescian space where paintings can easily lose themselves. Tolici’s paintings (dominated by his Park series) occupied it and my mind.

Their understated poetry, photographic realism and pursuit of mundane subjects made me think of the great Russian Non-Conformist Semyon Faibisovich. But, underpinned by a strong horizontal emphasis, Tolici panned out from Faibisovich close-up to reveal the bigger picture – eschewing Faibisovich’s attempts to coat mundanity in poetic blur.

It came as no surprise to learn that Tolici had graduated in Graphic Art. His technique is razor-sharp. (Simion Hewitt, curator)

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There Is No Time, 2015

oil on canvas

242 x 150 cm

There is No Path, 2015

oil on canvas

100 x 130 cm

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