Archive for September, 2010


Marius Bercea
September 18  – October 30 2010

For his first show in Culver City, François Ghebaly is thrilled to present QUI VIVRA VERRA, a new body of work by Marius Bercea.

Sensuous paint oozing from shoddy concrete walls becomes a metaphor of hope for Marius Bercea in his new series of paintings. Bercea makes the re- purposed buildings of his native post-Soviet Romania become sites of unpredictable abstraction expressed through vibrant, bright colors that seep through the cracks of gray Fascist architecture.  He observes how even in a “free” society the buildings still manage to lump human presence into collectives.  In some of the works, the artist brings people into closer view but he conspicuously blurs the details of their faces and bodies while embellishing the backdrop of a cavernous bath house or some other public space.

Formalist shapes are the unabashed surprise in these new works revealing a nostalgia Bercea has for Abstract Expressionism, a nineteen-forties and fifties art movement where artists considered painting a cathartic, religious experience. His fearless use of Abstract Expressionism’s “push-pull” concept in 2010 looks strangely refreshing. He earnestly engages the theory without resorting to ironic apologies for using traditional concepts and materials, an almost unheard of tactic in today’s contemporary painting.

Abstract Expressionism was a critical moment in High Modernism but so was Fascist architecture. Abstract Expressionism has been criticized for being Fascistic in its intransigent go-round of rule-making. But since it was barricaded to a small group of willing artists, its self-imposed strictures became if not laughable, then at least interesting. At its best, it was a watershed moment in art history. The Fascist architecture that creates the cities where Bercea lives and grew up express the immutability of High Modernism to full-blown effect. It intentionally shaped and re-shaped entire cultures leaving its citizens little choice about where and how they live. Bercea suggests that a love for extreme discipline and rigor may produce beautiful results within the private universe of the artist but applying the same idea as a modus operandi for the masses results in crumbling nightmares.

The artist skillfully weaves an intricate comparison between Abstract Expressionism and Fascism using a visual language that speaks with an articulation well beyond his twenty-eight years. He tells the timeless story of how evil and good can grow from the same parent showing how the West puts context under a microscope using it to enhance the idea of the individual but the East used it to broaden and grow society. East or West aside, Bercea’s paintings remind us that Modernism has been the same everywhere.

- Lara Taubman

For further information, please contact Karisa Morante at

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Opening Reception:
September 11 2010
6PM – 8PM

612 North Almont Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90069

September 11 – October 16 2010

M+B and François Ghebaly Gallery are pleased to announce their new relationship expanding collaborative dialogue within the Los Angeles art community with KUNSTHALLE @ M+B. Following the success of its first year in Chinatown, with exhibitions by Joel Kyack, Matt Mullican, Marie Jager, and Channa Horwitz, KUNSTHALLE will be moving to M+B on Almont Drive in West Hollywood.

According to the dubious lights of Wikipedia “Kunsthalle is, generally, in German speaking regions a term for a facility mounting temporary art exhibitions.” German is off-putting and tough. To American ears, it sounds stern, well-built, and foreign. Sturdy makes the modest sound mighty. Even if the vision is broad the project is simple: a facility for mounting temporary art exhibitions. KUNSTHALLE is a gathering of friends and colleagues, a network of like-minded people who are in need of a room. It’s not for everybody, but art never is. –Andrew Berardini

For the opening of the season, M+B and François Ghebaly Gallery invite Oxford-based curator Jane Neal to introduce the work of English painter Robert Fry. Fry’s work is a refreshing interpretation of figurative painting; his most recent series continuing along themes of sexuality, the relationship between artist and subject—willfully confused by his choice of perspective–and the potent energies within that dialogue.

Produced mainly in acrylic and oil, his work tests the boundaries of abstract figurative painting as he explores the types and degrees of tension that exist between the figures that appear in every work. He locates his figures in a non-space, a vacuum lacking the naturalistic elements of the human environment. There is no gravity, no tangible compass point by which to navigate. The viewer is absorbed entirely into Fry’s imagination wherein spatial perspective is rendered through a complex series of vantage points.

Born in 1980 in London, Robert Fry was recently shortlisted for the prestigious John Moores Contemporary Painting Prize. Recent exhibitions include Newspeak-British Art Now, The State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia) and solo shows at Atelier 2 in Moscow and Alexia Goethe Gallery in London. This will be his first exhibition in the United States.

Jane Neal is an independent curator and critic based in Oxford, England. She is a regular contributor to Art ReviewModern Painters and Flash Art and has curated shows internationally in both private and public venues.

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