The Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries opened the Fall Semester with a solo exhibition by Marius Lehene, a Romanian-born artist who teaches drawing at Colorado State University.
“Aerial Roots” is on display now through Oct. 1. Lehene will give an artist talk on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m. at the Stein Galleries in the Creative Arts Center.
The Stein Galleries are open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesdays and Fridays from noon to 4 p.m.; and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All Stein Galleries events are free and open to the public.
Everyone is required to wear a mask when inside all buildings on Wright State’s campuses, regardless of vaccination status.
The exhibition features Lehene’s recent layered drawings and paintings that address the perpetual re-orientation and re-interpretation typical of the immigrant experience to which he belongs.
Lehene’s work interrogates the idea of identity from the position of an artist who was born in Romania and now lives and works in the United States. In addition, Lehene’s wife is from India, and they travel regularly to both India and Romania where they have extended families.
Lehene uses images from all three cultural environments in his works to explore issues of memory, history, identity, absence, transience and discontinuity.
Each work is built by weaving multiple images together layer upon layer to almost complete abstractions, creating a mixture of scenes from different places, memories and experiences.
“This results in a visual amalgamation of, on one hand, images from different places, and on the other, of painterly surfaces with their own unique aesthetic qualities,” said Stefan Chinov, professor in sculpture and drawing, who curated the exhibition with John Dickinson, a professor in the Department of Art and Art History.
Aesthetically, Lehene indulges in tactile experiences of his different cultures, Chinov said.
“This translates into the physicality of his paintings and drawings — the layers of paint, the color, the marks, as much as into the impressions of divergent cultures with their different environments and histories,” he said.
Lehene is a professor of drawing at Colorado State, where he teaches all levels of drawing courses, a studio art graduate seminar and painting courses and works with graduate students in the drawing area.
He is an active artist, exhibiting his work in the United States and internationally. Lehene’s recent exhibitions include shows at CICA Museum, South Korea; Casa Matei Gallery at the University of Art and Design in Cluj, Romania; Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art; Pollock Gallery at Southern Methodist University in Dallas; and the Ice Cube Gallery in Denver. He was the Editor’s Choice of the 2018 edition of New American Painting – West exhibition in print.
Lehene earned an M.F.A. in painting and drawing from Southern Methodist University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Babeş-Bolyai University in Romania.
More information on the Stein Galleries is available at wright.edu/artgalleries or by calling the galleries at 937-775-2978.