Into the Wild (2020)
The artists’ interest for this universe was spawned through a 2015 visit on the Spanish island of Tenerife: a natural paradise that has made an impact on the artist psyche. Pine forests and deserts side by side, arid land and lush banana plantations living together, it was all like a fairy tale of nature.
Into the wild is an incursion into the jungle – heavy and solid leaves almost touch our body as we advance through the thick foliage, not knowing what dangers lie beyond – or if there might be an end in sight for our journey.
The Jungle is a mystical symbol for the unconscious and tormented human psyche: a theme very dear to the artist who is constantly preoccupied by the discovery of the inner Self. Virtosu’s fascination with Jung and his theory of psychoanalysis is expressed clearly in the use of dark tones and intertwined vines and leaves - to suggest that everything is connected and has a meaning.
„The Wild” in this case, is our own interior, a jungle of thoughts and feelings, memories and objectives, learned habits and patterns: a web of connections and interrelationship that escapes our simplistic, conscious understanding.
Virtosu uses charcoal drawing to create, with patience, his quagmire of leaves, on a grand scale. The artists’ hand gliding back and forth on the paper, almost like sharpening his scythe before finally starting to cut into the thick grain. This work benefits greatly from the versatility of charcoal. Virtosu’s career has been greatly impacted by his discovery, at a young age, of the drawings of William Kentridge, famed South-African artist who he had the chance to rediscover in the new exhibition at the LAM in Villeneuve d’Asq in 2020.
These influences as well as Virtosus’ desire to transgress his own perceived preconceptions about the jungle, have brought the young artist to create one of the most astonishing works so far: a pure drawing with depth, thickness, perspective, space and mystery.
The making of video also shows the process by which the artist is continuously checking and re-checking his drawing and adjusting both lights and shadows to achieve perfection of design. The darkest hues become just dark enough to provide contrast for the leaves that are closer to the eye, then a thin contour is added on top and around: this helps define the shapes and separate the layers of depth. Everything is meticulously thought-through a number of times and the artist does not hesitate to return and correct or modify as many times as he deems it necessary.
It is a master work of great patience and serenity that also inspires awe and humility towards the skill necessary to accomplish it.
In fact, the process by which the artist creates the Jungle drawing is the same as the one more commonly used to create clarity in our own thoughts: starting with an interior of complicated and intertwined directions, the artist gradually clarifies and separates in order to achieve a kind of harmonious structure – that only seems disorderly to the untrained eye, but is, in fact, much more thought through than one would think.
Contemporary art has long been the playground of all mediums, and charcoal drawing is no exception. It is, by excellence, a medium of phenomenal plasticity and flexibility that allows for great malleability.
It is important to contemplate the effect that such a piece has when it is viewed in an exhibition context - a sumptuous frame and glass covering provide the perfect environment to enter contemplation of such a deep, Jungian work.
„Into the Wild” is a piece that deserves our attention and will be a welcomed addition in the collection of a savvy connoisseur.
The work is created on high quality Fabriano paper and the charcoal has then been treated with fixative in order to preserve the drawing intact.
Dominic-Petru Virtosu was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1983. He completed his formal artistic education with a License in painting (2006) class of renowned Romanian artist Florin Ciubotaru and a Master’s in 2013 with professor Catalin Balescu at the Bucharest National University of Arts; also attending a semester as an Erasmus exchange student at the prestigious Hochschule fur Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig where he was guided by the style and color of his professor, Annette Schroter.
The artists’ German High-school education proved to be a founding element for his work-ethic and discipline – this led to him continuously developing his artistic practice even through 10 years of employment within the tourism and audio-visual industry of Romania. Works created between 2009-2013, while the artist was employed at the biggest private television conglomerate of Romania, are a strong testimony of this effort: to question his environment and society’s consumerist tendencies in a broader sense.
After 2013, his focus shifted towards integrating the paradox of image representation vs. pure painting – an essential pathway for Virtosu’s development. His style merged the two directions into an organic vivid mix in which color and subject matter are unified and produce an exceptionally powerful image. Each work thus becomes its own unique path and requires its own technical solutions – both plein-air and works of fantasy became unified in style.
Dominic-Petru Virtosu’s French heritage also played a part in creating a strong connection to the cultural and artistic environment of Paris at a young age. His travels to the capital of France for extended periods of time where the most relevant and prestigious museums and exhibitions of the time were readily accessible prompted the artists’ curiosity and stimulated his artistic eye at a young age. His French legacy and fluency in the French language also helped the artist secure a scholarship at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Tourcoing in France where he studied art-teaching in 2017-2018; thereafter being employed as a painting professor at this same university to this present day.