Maureen Flynn

“It is human nature, specifically, which preoccupies Bara most constantly, manifesting in expressively distorted figures encompassing a broad range of emotional states.

At the same time, there can often be an almost Braque-like formal stability to Bara’s compositions,  as seen to particular advantage in “Clowns,” where the two zany, wildly distorted buffoons in their garish costumes, one of which contains an area of bright harlequin patterns, occupy the picture plane with the stability of floral bouquets in a still life. Here, too, is a buoyant sense of the human comedy that also figures prominently in a large triptych format called “Kids,” which corrals the anarchic energy of childhood in a particularly pleasing composition where disproportionately large, expressively gesturing hands are, again, the picture’s piece de resistance.

As a colorist, Bara is as partial as de Kooning was (particularly in his “Woman” series) to various visceral shades of pink. For pink, after all, is one particular hue of the “human clay,” which for this artist becomes a kind of Play Dough that can be stretched in all manner of inventive ways to depict a host of mortal foibles and feelings. Thus his subjects range from the tender emotions of “Il Bambino” to the tormented visage of “The Sinner,” to “The Rumour,” in which cluster heads with gabbing gobs and a gesticulating hand pointing a finger at a blushing figure in the foreground demonstrate the cruelty of gossip.

Fresh from a critically praised exhibition inRome, Mihai Bara brings his refreshingly humanistic vision toChelsea in this engaging solo show.“

Maureen Flynn july 2011 New York

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