The Gibraltar Magazine - June 2012

Page 60

The quiet artist of Rockmania

by Elena Scialtiel

As part of its mission of promoting Gibraltar’s talent, Sacarello’s has a real treat for you this month with a solo exhibition by renowned painter, frescoer and restorer George Panturu. A member of the Maison des Artistes in France, where he lived for eight years after emigrating from his native Rumania, George has found fresh inspiration in what he describes as ‘the light between Europe and Africa’ or a trinket box which contains everything a landscapist can dream of being challenged by — mountain and sea, wilderness and skyscrapers, woodlands and barren rock formations — all within reach of a short bus drive from home! In fact, this middle-aged gentleman with a penchant for traditional portraiture loves to set up his easel in the open air and paint at leisure, enjoying the bright colours of a southern sunny day, which he reproduces on canvas with a generous palette of acrylics and oils, to bring out the Mediterranean joie

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de vivre. A man of few words, he claims he converses with his canvas while he works — and of course his canvases speak volumes for him. He says he paints through his heart, to capture the beauty of the universe, and definitely his work transmits a romantic sense of serenity at first sight, but there is more than meets the eye in the rendition of every little detail, so each section of his large canvases can become a painting in its own right. Nobody can fail to notice his grandest opus on display, a com-

plex bird’s-eye view of La Plaza del Reloj, Casemates and the town centre with the Strait in the background, where every trick of the light, passer-by, car, leaf, window, and crack in the walls seem to come to life to mesmerise the onlooker. Your eyes will keep on fluttering from one brushstroke to the next because, like the tiles of a mosaic or the instruments of an orchestra, they mesh together effortlessly to create a bigger picture, as soon as you step back and breathe in its full scale. Panturu started his career as an

A man of few words he claims he converses with his canvas while he works — and of course his canvases speak volumes for him

architect — no wonder he’s fascinated by buildings of all styles, and how they fit in the natural environment. A sterling example is the depiction of the Europa Point Mosque, subtly and harmoniously combining realism and expressionism in the colour layering and swirls of the brush. The Rock itself, in its entirety or focusing on its boulders, from any angle and in any light, is the protagonist of this collection, yet some poetic licence is taken, especially in the view from La Linea’s Playa del Levante, where pastel-coloured horses gallop in the waves’, Camargue style. “I added them to the seascape, because to me horses personify freedom,” George explains. On the other hand, if you’re a ‘sucker’ for picturesque cityscapes,

GIBRALTAR MAGAZINE • JUNE 2012