The Drawers - Irina Dascalu   Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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An Exotic Erotic Christmas, Dec 9 - Jan 11, 2007

With the hand of a European master, Irina Dascalu exhibits the head of a European mistress. She exposes herself, not blatantly, but after a courting period, a series of lunches and discrete visits and then she extends the invitation into her boudoir. In the soft light that glows from the vestiges of the past, the firm discipline born of tradition sheds a clue to the complex nature of the artist.

Her ability to render is sure. The wealth of taste coupled with the knowledge of great works done in studios lit in the past, under colored skylights or illuminated by southern exposures bleeds through to the present century. Her ability to surrender is not so secure. The dark renaissance background with the female figure glowing as if lit by a bank of candelabras placed on heavy furniture in a castle is misted by striped wisps. She is wrapped in cellophane so that the bulbous flow of breast and hip is smothered into pressurized folds like a shrink wrapped chicken. Yet, she is still sexy, seemingly squirming, ready to be unwrapped and used, her juices marinated by the breathless shroud. Like the biblical phrase “giveth and taketh away”, she has been complicit in the bondage. She is awake. She is exploring arenas that many women cannot bear to acknowledge existing, the female - objectified, packaged and ready to be picked. It is because Irina Dascalu is strong, and like Houdini, knows how to break free of bondage, that she is not only able to tackle the subject matter but brings to it inimitable insight. The woman bound is Irina. The artist who is presenting the woman bound is Irina and the woman who is breaking free of any psychological bondage is irrevocably Irina Dascalu. For once these images have been entered in the great image bank of art history, they have been exposed and the perpetrator who denies liberation is brought to trial and condemned.

Irina Dascalu has, in the past, drawn and painted women's bodies where the identity has always been hidden, the face covered or severed by the boundaries of the page. In this recent series, Irina reverses the captured moment like a flash that can only be developed as a negative. With the body wrapped and the head flung back, eyes shut and silence waiting to be broken, who is in control here? Only one, the artist, Irina Dascalu. She knows absolutely, who and what is being given or taken away.

Copyright © 2007,  Headbones Gallery