September 6 – 29, 2019 | Georges Mazilu: Madonnas, Angels, and Candles

Georges Mazilu - La chandelle verte

Georges Mazilu – La chandelle verte

In a mysteriously beautiful marriage of Northern Renaissance style painting and haunting surrealism, Georges Mazilu’s painting explores and reconciles his past—deconstructing how his Romanian childhood has influenced his unique and curious aesthetic and subject matter. Beginning with abstract, organic sketch strokes, Mazilu morphs ambiguous base shapes into human figures in a stunning amalgamation of his skill as a classically-trained painter, and in his vision as an ambitiously contemporary creator. In every piece from Mazilu, traces of the technical expertise learned at the prestigious Grigorescu Institute of Fine Arts clash harmoniously with the influences of the modern art world as they were first introduced to Eastern Europe, catalyzing a distinctive, bewitching depiction of his distorted figures.

Battle, that is both enchantingly stylistic and intensely contemplative, can be witnessed in Mazilu’s paintings: an interesting controversy between the capacity to speak to the navigation of his near-Soviet upbringing, his voice as an artist, and the nuances of art itself as a therapeutic practice. Ultimately, this speaks to the dynamic push-pull of the Romanian moment.

Mazilu’s process explores finding reason in shape and dimension, but nevertheless with a final appearance rooted in his mastery of realism. Furthermore, his medium brings into question the functionality of material, as his acrylic depictions closely resemble the behavior of traditional, oil portraiture. This developmental process, constructed from these controversies, as described by the artist himself, “permits [him] to sound [his] unconscious by developing the signs into harmonious structures…a mirroring of [his] present state of mind.” The human forms that emerge from the ambiguous universes he elegantly crafts are the consequence of his experience in the world, displaying a visceral passion for his practice, the meditative intention of his introspection, and his virtually unprecedented creative vision.

Essay by Morgan Bakinowski

Opening Reception Friday, September 6, 2019 from 5 to 7pm.

view artwork in the exhibition

VAS Recommends Georges Mazilu Exhibition

VAS Recommends Georges Mazilu Exhibition, October 2017

VAS Recommends Georges Mazilu Exhibition, October 2017

Georges Mazilu
Turner Carroll Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Amanda Malloy
Continuing through October 15, 2017

Tucked in an inner room here is a series of portraits and vignettes that might have been convincingly pulled from Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.” Romanian artist Georges Mazilu’s “A Survey of Paintings and Drawings” is both other-worldly and surprisingly human. Mazilu’s work is rooted in dualities. Both classically trained in portraying the human figure as a master in realism, and at one time a strictly abstract artist, Mazilu’s paintings recall both the portraiture of the Renaissance masters, and a futuristic world of fantastical creatures and fairy-tale-like characters.

Set against dark minimalist backgrounds, Mazilu rarely conducts any planning for his figurative-based compositions. Often starting with abstract forms, his subjects grow out of his imagination, letting the characters in his paintings unfold naturally. He explains, “I try to keep my logic from interfering, and slowly convert these signs into figures as late in his process as possible, when a strong suggestion appears.” By working improvisationally, and allowing abstract forms to become figurative, Mazilu’s characters appear caught in a liminal space between object and human, as if the subjects in his paintings are puppets come to life. While each piece depicts a private scene or portrait, Mazilu works in rich blues and greens that connect the works that implies all of these creatures and characters exist in the same world. While Mazilu’s world is strange and a bit unsettling, it is certainly a pleasure to witness.

Visual Art Source recommendation

September 15 – October 15, 2017 | Georges Mazilu: A Survey of Paintings and Drawings

Romania’s history is cloaked in mystery, but it possesses an art history that is rich and beautiful. Golden icon paintings and ornate monasteries grace the countryside. Consequently, artistic training in Romania is highly rigorous, with 9 years of schooling. The first four years focus on the human figure; the last five years focus on a specific media of choice. Georges Mazilu was trained as a realist, portraying the human figure. After mastering realism, Mazilu became an abstract painter. For several years, his works were purely abstract assemblages, based on the patterns of his upbringing with a tailor parent. The patterning is obvious in Mazilu’s blend of abstraction with realism, creating final forms somewhat anthropomorphic. Today, Mazilu’s paintings display perfectly blended fusions of abstraction and stunning realism. He combines his magical realist style with the European Old Master palette, creating a masterful fusion of old world and dream world.

Noted art historian and Professor Emeritus of Princeton University, Sam Hunter, wrote the most recent monograph on Mazilu, but the late, preeminent South African writer André Brink described Mazilu’s work most poetically:

“Mazilu’s originality, even when he mockingly inserts himself in an admirable and exciting tradition, lies in moving beyond what has been done, in painting precisely what Bosch or Redon or Dali have not imagined. This is the challenge to which each picture responds, each constituting a ludic leap of the imagination, or of faith, into the dark of the as yet unimaginable: it is this motion towards ‘something beyond,’ this act of ‘crossing over,’ of defying limits and boundaries, that defines the…dynamism, of an art that dazzles as much through its technical virtuosity as the subtlety and outrage of its imagination.”

Opening Reception Friday, September 15, 2017 from 5 to 7pm
[n.b. that this event takes place in Santa Fe]

View Show Pieces

Art as a Universal Language, Part 8: Deconstructing the paintings of Romanian Artist Georges Mazilu

Georges Mazilu, La femme jardin

Georges Mazilu is one of the first artists we represented at Turner Carroll in the early 1990s, after being introduced to his paintings by fellow Romanian artist Traian Alexandru Filip.

Before escaping Romania during the reign of harsh dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Mazilu had grown up in a beautiful small Medieval village in Romania. In our quest to better understand the mystery and complexity of Mazilu’s paintings, Michael and I travelled to Romania in 1993, to see how this setting had influenced Mazilu’s highly personalized style. Certainly, the amalgamation of scale, color, and shape, on Mazilu’s style was immediately apparent.

Georges Mazilu did the typical multi-year tenure in art school in Romania, with the first several years focusing on realistic depiction of the human figure. Only after mastering the human form, could one declare a specialty in artistic media of choice. Mazilu chose painting, and continued painting the human form and occasional landscape until his escape from Romania in 1982. Art was in service of the State, so he could veer from realism only slightly while living in Romania.

Mazilu fled to France, where he celebrated his new-found artistic freedom by incorporating abstraction into his work, which he had always longed to do. The abstract forms he knew came from the Medieval architecture in his native Romania, as you can see in the images above, as well as the clothing patterns used by his father–a tailor.

La femme jardin, featured above, marks an important evolution of Mazilu’s artistic style, with all the flourishes of a quintessential Mazilu work. This painting, though, offers something additional–it places Mazilu undeniably within the European tradition of timeless master painters. His references to European artists who have informed his work are obvious in the glistening earrings (Vermeer), the melancholy light tones of Rembrandt, and the ornately floral head piece (Arcimboldo). The patterned attire is definitively Mazilu’s, stemming from his upbringing in rural Romania in a household of tailors. The mystery of the work, combined with the other-worldly composition reminds us of Bosch. The confident gaze and compact body shape references Velazquez’s Las Meninas.

Georges Mazilu, Femme en robe rouge

In Femme en robe rouge and La femme au chapeau de soie, one can envision these figures walking through the streets of Mazilu’s home village, at dusk. The pieced-together garments and quirky Medieval feel of these paintings make them timeless and evocative of memories buried deep in European ancestral past. The Femme en robe rouge is a Madonna, or a Medici. La femme au chapeau de soie, with her hat and harlequin-patterned cloak, alludes to the harlequin’s long past in European Tarot and art history.

Georges Mazilu, La femme au chapeau de soie

Noted art historian and Professor Emeritus of Princeton University, Sam Hunter, wrote the most recent monograph on Mazilu, but preeminent South African writer Andre Brink describes Mazilu’s work most poetically:

“Faces luminous as moons, shining not with reflected light but from the inside. Figures that hesitate on the threshold of the subtly coloured backgrounds from which they have emerged and towards which they seem ready to return. The dialogue with the dark. The dialogue with light. The dialogue with the interminable silence of things….A dialogue, too…with a procession from the past: with Bosch, sometimes Brueghel, the fantastic imagery of the Middle Ages…with creatures from hallucinations or from A Midsummer Night’s Dream….”

“Mazilu’s originality, even when he mockingly inserts himself in an admirable and exciting tradition, lies in moving beyond what has been done, in painting precisely what Bosch or Redon or Dali have not imagined. This is the challenge to which each picture responds, each constituting a ludic leap of the imagination, or of faith, into the dark of the as yet unimaginable: it is this motion towards ‘something beyond,’ this act of ‘crossing over,’ of defying limits and boundaries, that defines the…dynamism, of an art that dazzles as much through its technical virtuosity as the subtlety and outrage of its imagination.”

~ End ~

August 23 – September 13, 2016 | Georges Mazilu and Mavis McClure: Morphy’s Law

Georges Mazilu and Mavis McClure

Georges Mazilu and Mavis McClure

With the earthiness of clay, and the stylings of the old master palette both artists in this exhibition present explorations of the human and animal forms. Hands on, from the Earth, yet changed.

Opening Reception Friday, August 26, 2016 from 5 to 7pm
[n.b. that this event takes place in Santa Fe]

Georges Mazilu in Santa Fe for his Solo Exhibition

Georges Mazilu

We had a great exhibition for Georges Mazilu here in the gallery. The show was made all the better by Georges traveling from France to Santa Fe to see old friends, and meet new collectors. And though we have shown Georges’ work for nearly twenty years, there is always something we learn or a new bit we take away after an in-person visit from Georges. Jusqu’à ce que la prochaine fois!

Art Odyssey

Georges Mazilu - Red Rhinoceros

Georges Mazilu – Red Rhinoceros

”I was born in Romania in 1951 and earned my Master’s Degree in Fine Arts at the Grigorescu Art Institute in Bucharest.
In 1982 I escaped Ceausescu’s dictatorial regime and settled down in France. Some features of my present art as absurdity and grotesque could find their explanation in my youth years spent in socialist Romania…
In their origins my compositions are abstract constructions that I gradually build into representational images. This process permits me to sound my unconscious as I transform abstractions into harmonious structures, mirrors of my present state of mind. I try to keep my logic from interfering, slowly converting my constructed forms into figures. In the final stage the process continues more consciously as I work to create an atmosphere around the figures that completes their world, a world that reflects the complexities and psychological realities of our own environment. ”

Read More


Sep 1, 2012 | Georges Mazilu: New Work

Georges Mazilu – Fille au col en dentelle

New work by one of France’s most idiosyncratic painters, whose work was recently added to the permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Denver Art Museum.

The twisted world of Mazilu’s creatures with their curious forms and faces is thrillingly presented by Turner Carroll Gallery. Originally from Romania, Mazilu now resides in France after he could no longer live under the harsh rule of Nicolae Ceausescu. His artwork reflects the complexity and unpredictability of modern society. Mazilu creates creatures that have characteristics of the human form yet have unnatural details that cause one to pause. When the artist begins a new piece of art he first lays down figures and shapes and only after he has the abstract form does he begin to incorporate familiar forms from the world surrounding him.

Mazilu works with opposites within his art: working in a medieval style that mixes with his own contemporary views, with dark undefined space to great mechanical detail, and with contrasts of bright forms against dark backgrounds. His nine-year training in the art of the human form is apparent through his clearly defined bodies, yet his own contemporary twist forces the viewer to contemplate the human body. Many of his subjects represent toys as they have mechanical aspects, wires and metal limbs, yet their resemblance to the facial aspects of a human in the face makes it clear these are complex creatures. Mazilu is shown in museums across the globe including the de Young Museum in San Francisco and the Sophia Museum of Contemporary Art in Bulgaria. He has also shown in various venues in France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Belgium, and throughout the United States. This exhibition represents Mazilu’s first US exhibition since the Denver Museum of Art acquired a large painting of his.

Sep 24 – Oct 20, 2010 | Georges Mazilu


Turner Carroll Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of Georges Mazilu’s newest body of work. Internationally recognized for his ability to fuse both contemporary surrealism and Northern Renaissance portraiture, Mazilu’s brilliantly executed paintings portray mysterious settings that entice us delve into these enigmatic compositions.

Georges Mazilu earned a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the Grigorescu Art Institute in Bucharest. His works can be found in prestigious permanent collections including San Francisco’s de Young Museum and the Bulgarian Museum of Contemporary Art. Mazilu is represented in Romania, Germany and the Netherlands, and a member of La Maison de Artistes. Mazilu’s newest body of work is not to be missed!

(Images: Georges Mazilu, L’espion, 2010, acrylic on linen, 18.1 x 21.6″; Le chien messager, acrylic on linen , 21 x 24.25″, 2010; Courtesy Turner Carroll Gallery)

Posted by Abhilasha Singh on 10/10/10

September 8 – September 26, 2000 | Georges Mazilu: New Paintings

Georges Mazilu - La trottinette

Georges Mazilu – La trottinette

This Romanian-born artist has become on the of the most sought-after painters in Europe. Since 1980 Georges has lived in Paris, where he has drawn attention from curators and art historians alike for his unique vision. This exhibition will celebrate Georges’ most recent paintings and the monograph by Professor of Aert history Emeritus Sam Hunter.

Opening reception Friday, September 8, from 5-7 pm.

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