Unbearable Craziness of Onions



Art on the Avenue Gallery

3808 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104, 267-934-0593, http://www.artonave.org
Additional information: Miki Farcas: miki@artonave.org


opening: Friday, September 13,  5:30  - 8:30 pm

exhibit runs September 13 through October 5, 2013

gallery hours: Saturdays and Sundays, 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm or by appointment

ART ON THE AVENUE GALLERY, at 3808 Lancaster Avenue, is proud to present PATRICIU MATEESCU: THE UNBEARABLE CRAZINESS OF ONIONS, a solo ceramic sculpture and drawing exhibition, featuring the most recent works of this noteworthy international artist.  Please join us for the opening on Friday, September 13, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The exhibit runs from September 14 to October 5. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday, 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm or by appointment.

Artist’s Comment on the Show

Mateescu credits the crazy dance of an onion leaf, in its ascension to the sun, as the inspiration for both the ceramic sculptures and the drawings in this show.  In his words: There is a step in the growth of the onion, from seed to bulb, when one green leaf plays a freedom dance in the sun taking a variety of crazy forms. Whoever sees the onions cut for sale at the market is missing this unique spectacle. The sight of these fascinating shapes seemed very meaningful and relevant and I had to take some pictures. The memory of the dance and the photos inspired the work featured in the show. I have tried to figure in clay my feelings for this memorable choreographic craziness of onions!” 

Artist’s Background

Patriciu Mateescu is a Romanian-born American ceramic sculptor. He holds an MFA in sculpture from the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest, Romania.  His art spans over sixty years and two continents. His European and American trajectory as an artist is illustrative of the artistic currents, methods, movements, as well as formal and intellectual concerns of ceramics during this time.  From the very beginning of his artistic career, Mateescu has been an innovator, experimenting with material (clay), surface, color, volume and scale. His works range in size from small to large scale, monumental pieces. Throughout, Mateescu’s work has been part of the process of elevating ceramics from craft to art.  His recent work, including the pieces in the exhibit, would probably be classified by Mark Del Vecchio, one of the experts in contemporary ceramics, as “organic abstractions”.  However, his work does not lend itself to easy categorization, it is extremely diverse, literate, adventurous and, at times, seriously playful.  It is the work of an artist, a sculptor, who has ‘ceramics in his blood” and who loves to work in clay.

In the 1960s and 1970s, while still in Romania, Patriciu Mateescu exhibited widely (Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Belgium, Switzerland, France, etc., and won numerous prizes and awards, among which three Gold Medals at the International Ceramic Shows of Prague, Czechoslovakia (1962), Munich, Germany (1966) and Faenza, Italy in 1978. 

In 1979 Mateescu moved to the United States and lived in California for some time before moving to New Jersey, where he has his studio and his ceramic sculpture garden.  He is the recipient of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship (1999).  Whether on the West Coast or the East Coast, Patriciu Mateescu, made his mark on the art scene, through his solo shows and group exhibits participations, and through his outdoor monumental pieces, from Los Angeles to Princeton, NJ, New York City, New York State, Philadelphia and numerous other places. 

Outdoor Monumental Sculpture

Two of Mateescu’s outdoor monumental pieces have been accepted by the Sculpture Foundation for  “Grounds for Sculpture” in Hamilton, NJ. Other monumental outdoor pieces are installed on college campuses: University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), California State University at Northridge (CSUN), Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY,  Westminster Choir College Campus, Princeton, NJ. His native country, Romania, never forgot Patriciu Mateescu and Patriciu Mateescu never forgot his native country.  After the fall of communism, he went back to Romania, where he designed, produced, installed and donated several noteworthy pieces.  He was also the initiator of the Hamangia Ceramic Sculpture Symposium, which continues to this day. 

Works in Museums and Other Collections

In addition to many private collections, his work is included in museum permanent collections, such as  Musees Royaux d’Art et Histoire, Bruxelles, Belgium; Musee de L’Ariana, Geneve, Switzerland; several Art Museums in Romania; Museum of Decorative Art, Prague, Czech Republic. Other collections include California State University at Northridge (CSUN); UCLA, Los Angeles; Cedar Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles.

In the Press

Patriciu Mateescu’s ceramic sculpture has been featured in prestigious journals such as Ceramics: Art and Perception and Ceramics Today. Reviews of his work appeared in Susan Peterson’s The Craft and Art of Clay

(Prentice Hall, 1992), Leon Nigrosh’s Sculpting Clay (Davis Publications, 1991), to name a few.

Photo above: from the series The Unbearable Craziness of Onions (2013), glazed stoneware w/palladium luster, H: 43"

For more information, cv and list of shows: www.patrickmateescu.com and www.artonave.org