In the Portuguese literature, the beginning of the 20th. century is marked by the diptych novel of Eça de Queiroz titled 'The City and the Mountains', in which the author glorifies the bucolic existence, while criticizing the civilization that transgresses through excess and technological addiction. Seven decades later, Austrian Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz points out in his book 'Civilized Man's Eight Deadly Sins' that 'the increased general alienation from nature is responsible for the aesthetical and ethical decrease of the civilized man.' So, what ethical and aesthetical artistic means of expression do homo faber and femina faber have today, when the pandemic and the global warming act like a wake-up call, forcing us all to re-invent ourselves as civilization?
Maia Ștefana Oprea approached throughout her entire artistic course various forms of returning to nature, but once she permanently moved to the countryside in Romania, she entered a new phase of creation and life, in which she explores the benefits of organic pigments and recycled materials in her artistic practice, and of permaculture in her botanical activities. At the same time, Samir Mihail Văncică, whose paintings focusing on portraits invoke religious iconography, graduated from Bunești School, where he gained crafts skills for building an autonomous, eco, and sustainable architectural structure, using natural materials only.
Albeit not forming an artistic duo, Maia Ștefana Oprea and Samir Mihail Văncică are living and working together in their own rhythm, accompanying the beat of four (soon of five) hearts. Since the study of fine arts brought the two of them together, the current selection gathers exclusively paintings by them, made in previous years, but only exhibited now, for the first time. The artworks belong to different phases of creation hence, the themes vary, but the range of colours puts together a coherent narrative. The earthy colours used by Maia (whose name, in Greek language, actually means 'mother') are brightened by the warm colours used by Samir for his Madonna paintings. In this way, homo faber and femina faber exhibit together for the first time, proving that the return to nature is not only possible, but also creatively productive.