Tudor Mitroi, Earth Grid Journal, 2016-17, egg tempera on paper, 7 x 12 11/16 in.
Tudor Mitroi continues to explore time and space in his highly personal paintings on paper at Rudolph Blume Gallery, on view through Oct 7. He layers washes of egg tempera with complicated map tracings, dates, names, and straight lines that cut across the picture plane. Their personal significance, though obscure, may leave the viewer mystified yet not alienated, as the details are seductive and the mysteries intriguing. Mitroi was born in Bucharest and came to Texas to study art in 1994. These paintings may be informed by his traversing of the landscape, which includes returning to Romania regularly and commuting to his teaching position in Huntsville. In Golden Journal, for example, the point of view is from above, with sheer white formations suggesting clouds that float above outlines of lost cities or ruined civilizations incorporating elements drawn from historic maps and topographies.
A more recent piece, Pink Grid Journal, is vibrant, with washes of pink, rose, orange, dark green and brown covered by dense line drawings, dates, and time-related text (for example, veneri and dupa amiaza, Romanian for “Friday” and “afternoon”). Here he introduces a structural element as well; a large square dominates the lower right-hand corner and several smaller squares occupy the picture plane with varying levels of opacity.
Mitroi curated a show in 2016 titled Mapping the Flow: Journals, Lists, Daily News, which investigated how humans mark the passage of time, an ongoing concern reflected in these 13 paintings from 2015 to the present. The recent pieces are more complex, as Mitroi continues to hone his technique with more colors, layers, line drawings, and text. These personal geographies offer a glimpse into the artist’s creative process and his time in the studio studying maps, mixing paint, applying it in thin washes and painstakingly lettering the details with small brushes, a practice that creates a record of the passing days measured out with brushstrokes.