29 June 2012

The Pulse of the Wind: Mariana Sain-Morar

Primary Dance
(oil on linen, 1982)
   "The majority of my work done in Romania does not easily reveal itself to the hurried viewer. These paintings have hidden connotations, although always a message based on general human values, which could not be freely-expressed in a totalitarian regime." 

   Those are the words of Mariana Sain-Morar, an artist who has developed her art amidst censorship, rebellion, and revolution, and has shown her work internationally. In 1992, Sain-Morar moved to the USA where she continues to work and exhibit from her studio here in San Diego. 
   Before her move and ever since, Sain-Morar has created some remarkably powerful paintings with themes that focus alternately on spiritual conflict, emotional resilience, and the grace in peace. Despite her passionate religious and political views, we are convinced that her work holds nourishing value for people of any religion, as well as those with no religion at all, and for people of all political beliefs, as well as those with no political beliefs at all.

Art School
(oil on linen, 1982)

(oil on linen, 1982)

   "The artist is a pilgrim on the road toward the divine," says Sain-Morar. "He [or she] is on a dynamic waiting pathway and each piece comes as a step forward in understanding reality and communicating it to the world. The steps are not symmetrical. They might have different forms and heights, the artist trying to avoid walking monotonously and repeating himself."
   We had the chance to ask Sain-Morar about some of our favorite paintings of hers, and she kindly gave us some new insights that we'd now like to share. 
   Regarding her painting Primary Dance (1982), Sain-Morar tells us it's about the fall. Regarding Art School (1982), she says: "The light comes in from the outside to illuminate, to inspire. Some have a hard time entering the state of creativity." And regarding Roots (1982), Sain-Morar says: "The roots of our traditions are important. But in order to grow, we need to have the courage to break away from them. The composition was designed like a circle, and the person on the lower right breaks this vicious cycle."

Shining in the Sunset 
(from a series of oil pastels, 1986)

(oil on linen, 1988)

   "I want my art to be a witness and a challenge for the viewer who wants to know and understand a different culture, a dark, sad period in the history of a nation; a period that should not be repeated anywhere, ever." 
   Regarding her painting Hypostases (1988), Sain-Morar says it's about "becoming wiser".

(oil on linen, 1989)

The Scribe
(oil on linen, 1990)
Wind of Freedom
(oil on linen, 1990)

   The three paintings above give us a riveting sense of the uncertain feelings in the region when the USSR broke up in December 1989. Wind of Freedom (1990) is one of the first paintings made after the Romanian revolution, while The Scribe (1990) is about "the steps of our becoming".

(oil on canvas, 1993)

Harlequin's Dream
(oil on linen, 1993)

   After moving to the USA in 1993, Sain-Morar's technique became even richer and more refined, and she continued with her atemporal settings to communicate her ideas. 
   Regarding Destinies (1993), she says: "Those are not the twelve [apostles. They are] just regular people like you and me." And regarding Harlequin's Dream (1993), she says: "The harlequin symbolizes one's spiritual journey, his permanent struggle between wandering and home, between his personal fulfillment and the happiness of others."

(oil on linen, 1993)
(acrylic on board, 1995)

King Lear
(acrylic on canvas, 2000)

   After creating some amazing works in oil on linen, Sain-Morar shifted towards brighter tones, a canvas ground, and began experimenting with the quickly-drying acrylic paint. Her King Lear stands out against the passionate red background as a living symbol of a king without a country. The shadowed side of his face seems to give us an insight into his heart-broken soul.

(acrylic on canvas, 2002)

   Harvest (2002), meanwhile, bursts with joyful harmony. The angel sitting on the sky seems to be directing the harvesters. Music, work, nature, spirit, and city- Sain-Morar shows us that these are all clearly entwined.

(oil on canvas, 2002)

(oil on canvas, 2006)
Golden Girl
(oil on canvas, 2008)

   Regarding Adagio (2002), Sain-Morar tells us: "I hear the sound of cello everyday in my house, and my favorite color is blue. As Nicolae Steinhardt says, blue is not a color but a serenity." Golden Girl (2008), meanwhile, is a glorious portrait of one of Sain-Morar's friends.

(oil on canvas, 2009)
La femme et les oiseaux
(oil on canvas, 2009)

   Regarding Aeria (2009), Sain-Morar tells us: "Aeria is a Medival Latin word meaning 'nest of a bird of prey, existing in/flying in air, airborne/aerial; towering, airy; blue." 
   La femme et les oiseaux translates as "The woman and the birds".
   Wind and wings have long appeared prominently in Sain-Morar's paintings, as the two paintings above do, but these also exude a sweetly exhilarating air. It helps that the backgrounds are so vibrant and that Sain-Morar has embraced delicious mosaical elements.   

   Whatever the era and whatever the political climate that she finds herself in, Sain-Morar is a master of color, wielding it in ways that communicates instantly and across cultural gaps the fundamental essence of humanity. By doing so, we are reminded that this kind of expression is something to be vigorously maintained as a fundamental right. 
   Thank you, Mariana!

[For more information on Mariana Sain-Morar, feel free to visit her website at: www.sainmorar.com.]


  1. Mariana, your work is exquisite! Your colors & brush strokes are full of
    warmth and your subjects, interesting and diverse. Beautiful! Love it!

    Best regards from Nancy A, who appreciates the artist and who loves art~~for the enrichment it brings to the soul.

  2. Thank you very much Nancy. People like you keep me in my studio. Mariana