Artist Q&A with Luminita Gliga
Luminita Gliga (b. 1975) is an internationally recognized visual artist who is living and working in Bucharest, Romania. She studied painting at the National University of Arts in Bucharest. With a PhD in visual arts at the same university and with over 15 years of art experience, Gliga expresses through the colors and shapes, creating new worlds where the viewer is expected and invited to explore. Her compositions are created with abstract and elements from the known and seen world. The painted image is a form of communicating with people.
Gliga’s paintings have been presented in many places in her country and across the globe in art museums, galleries, festivals, and art fairs including the Romanian Artists’ Union, the Romanian Parliament; Galerie Icosahedron and the New Arts Center in New York; the IRCCU Venice; and the the Thuilliers Gallery in Paris. She was awarded by La Société académique Arts-Sciences-Lettres with Medaille de Vermeil in 2006. Her artworks are present in various public and private collections.
Who is your favorite artist of all time?
My tastes are changing all the time because it can be the situation to like just one artist or the complete opera. I love Abstract Expressionism, particularly Willem de Kooning, but my favorite artist of all time is Picasso. I am fascinated by his way of breaking the practices of the past and finding new shapes to express. Also his devotion to artistic production contributed significantly to the whole development of modern art. I also find his collages very interesting. He remains an influential painter and sculptor, print maker, and ceramist. He wanted to develop a new way of seeing, namely in that of reflecting the modern age — Cubism was the solution. Picasso did not feel that art should copy nature. He emphasized the difference between a painting and reality. Cubism involves different ways of seeing, or perceiving, the world around us.
How did you become a professional artist?
After I graduated from high school with an intent to teach, I started courses at the Faculty of Philology. I decided to quit in my second year because my passion for art got stronger. Although the first contact with color was when I was kindergarten, then in school where my drawings where selected and displayed in the school hall. When I was a child I visited many art exhibitions in Romania with my father, the writer Ioan Gliga, and had enjoyed what I had seen. I had the chance to know the world of writers, artists, philosophers, and actors, but I was not tempted to follow. This was until Constantin Grecu, a Romanian artist who lived and worked in Germany, opened an exhibition at the Art Museum of Brasov. I was impressed by his works and his style. That made me completely change my life path. I started to be more and more interested in the arts, so I decided to learn more. After lessons with the artist and teacher Mihai Corneliu I aced the entrance exam to the National Art University in Bucharest where I studied full-time for four years in the class of professor and artist Sorin Ilfoveanu. Being recognized by my professors as a gifted student I was always motivated to do my best and to continue discovering my path in art with lot of documentation and practice. I continued with the study for my PhD in visual arts with Zamfir Dumitrescu as doctoral coordinator. All this time I had beautiful experiences with arts, participating at art fairs, group exhibitions and organizing solo shows. I had the chance to meet professionals from the art world who were very important for my art career.
What are the influences and inspirations in your work?
My work explores the world of colors and shapes. The essence of each painting is the connection between the subject and myself. My paintings now concern themselves with the vague territory between abstraction and the known and seen world. Since I was a student at the Art University I got used to following some steps for my paintings — a theoretical documentation, sketches and then starting the work — Ephesus, Apocalypse, Nestatornik, Autobiography in images, Terra vision, Riding souls, and Travel the World are few of my subjects. So I am inspired by nature, old symbols, war, life in the city, dreams, travels, etc. I am especially influenced by Abstract Expressionism. I like to explore the secrets of composition and of shapes. Recently I experimented again with collage — and this time it was the assemblage — with materials and objects, but I did not forget about the importance of composition and message of an artwork. But I must let you know about the amazing correspondence I have had with the great artist and professor David Kastner. For more than 10 years, this friendship has lead me to understand so many things about life and art. It is amazing to have a dialogue regarding various subjects. It is a dialogue which continues to be an inspiration to me.
How is your work different than everything else out there?
My work is myself, so it must be different by the others. It is about my experience, my professional skills, and my way to express my identity with art. It is very important to have something to say, and I always think about the aspect of the dialogue. My art is for those who want to talk to me. Art influences society and art is communication. Different people from our world, different times, and different places can communicate with each other via images or sounds. It is an ambassador.
When is a piece finished for you?
I think the answer to this question it is more about the instinct. Creating an artwork is a deeply personal experience. Accepting the imperfections and being happy with the result can mean the completed artwork. For me having the harmony of colors and a dynamic composition which can transmit the message, in my style so all of these are elements closer to the complete artwork. I like what Arthur William Radford said, “Half of art is knowing when to stop”. I feel this too.
What’s different about your current body of work?
I would my current body of work is about my chromatic. I had the pleasure to receive messages from stranger people like “I saw your aqua gardens” or “your interpreted landscapes”. It seems I already have a style in approaching the subject. Then it is about my signature on my paintings, in a monogram.
What would you like collectors and curators to know about your work?
They should want to discover my paintings not just for the visual, but also what is behind the story. My art is the result of my experiences and my education; it is the way of how I want people to make thinking about an escape in a world of colors and shapes.
Tell us about a few of your career highlights or moments that have greatly affected your career?
This is about the beautiful memories that I have because of art. The years when I used to go at the Salon International du Mondede la Culture etdes Arts in Cannes, meeting with artists from the entire world, then receiving gold, silver, and bronze medals in the M.C. A Salon. Then in 2008 in Paris – Medaille de Vermeil from l’Académie des Arts, Sciences et Lettres. The most beautiful step was in 2009 with the first invitation that I received from New York to participate in a group exhibition at Galerie Icosahedron in “the center of the art world”. It was a great honor for me to be at the opening where I met wonderful people and I discovered a new wonderful world. After that things changed so much because I realize how it important it is to be noticed internationally. I had the opportunity to have five more art exhibitions in New York and I hope to be back soon. In 2018, I was awarded with the Michelangelo International Art Prize at the Palazzo Boccaccio in Rome. And before the start of this terrible pandemic, in November 2019, I had an important exhibition at the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest. I had the honor to be introduced with the gifted words of the renowned international art historian Razvan Theodorescu, Vice-President of the Romanian Academy and the President of the Arts at the Architecture and Audiovisual Department of The Romanian Academy. This is a very important stop in my art career.
What’s coming up for you?
I keep on working because for me this is a normal way to express myself and I love the art vocabulary. I hope to get back to international art events soon; I have many invitations for exhibitions and art fairs, and I hope all of us will be safe and able to meet and enjoy the energy of arts!
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out today?
I would say that art is a very special gift for humans, and if someone is ready for a long and interesting journey then this is the choice. Never stop learning because knowledge and intelligence is the base to great art.
Who are some of your favorite underappreciated artists that you don’t think get enough attention?
With my experience I realize that there are many talented artists who are not discovered or who are discovered after their life. It is in a way about the destiny and the luck. I think the real values are recognized at some point. In our times it is a different situation — especially with the international scene and the contact we have because of the internet.
To learn more about Luminita and her work, please visit Facebook.com/luminita.gliga.