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Patru II



Aida Tomescu

Australia, Romania

03 Oct 1955 –

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    oil on canvas
    183.0 x 152.0 cm stretcher
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated u.l. corner verso, blue oil "Aida Tomescu/ ... - 1999/ ...".

    Purchased with funds provided by the David George Wilson Bequest for Australian Art 2000
    South Building, ground level, 20th-century galleries
    Accession number
    © Aida Tomescu/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Aida Tomescu

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Patru II belongs to a series of six paintings initiated between 1997 and 1998 and completed in 1999.

    The series developed following a trip back to northern Moldavia (Romania) to revisit 15th- and 16th-century frescoes – images I grew up with during summer vacations. The trip had been prompted by a film, partly shot in Moldavia, on the poet Paul Celan who was born and raised in those parts. It featured striking and powerful details of the frescoes, and made me want to go back.

    I can locate Patru II at the intersection between the rich imagery of the frescoes and the verses of Paul Celan. They led to the painting’s direction and finally its resolution, as new ideas developed from fragments of the original source. As more digressions came in, so did the distance between the frescoes intense presence and my geographic detachment from them.

    ‘Patru’ translates simply as ‘four’. Its symbol surfaced in the midst of my painting, and a myriad of associations followed, to the cross, among others. This character resurfaced in various guises throughout the series. It changed, twisted, reconfigured and returned with a stubborn insistence. New identities developed and took their place within the structure of the work more or less concurrently. Titling the work with a Romanian name removed its image from description, or connection to a narrative. (I have always been interested in titles that stay open and have double or even multiple meanings – removing any possibility of linking their identity to one story).

    As with all my work, texture is not my concern; construction and structure are. The work’s body is inherent to the way I construct my image. It is formed from building the painting with scrapers and mixing pigments directly on the surface. Previous drier layers of paint begin to mix with fresher ones giving me the pigmentation, however there is never a method, or a known process at work, as each painting must inevitably go through its own experience and become a unique instance and presence in the visual language of the series.

    There is no sand or any other material mixed in with the paint. Its greyness and the changes in tone and temperature of the colour shift constantly and are ultimately determined by the previous layers, which begin to actively participate in the forming of the image and of the colour simultaneously.

    The more open drawing, with the brush of white pigment, returned towards the final stages of the work and gave my structure a greater mobility that is singular to this painting from the series. The need grew to open the work up, lift it and liberate it from the weight of pigment, return to it something of the immediacy of the beginning. As the brush found its way back into my work I was simultaneously building the painting’s planes of construction with scrapers, my constant painting companions since.

    Aida Tomescu, September 2022

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

Other works by Aida Tomescu

See all 27 works