Born in Romania in 1958, he migrated to Australia in 1989 and fell in love with a country comprised of unique fauna and wildlife, vast open spaces and vibrant colors.
Greatly influenced by the emotional and enigmatic painters of the Expressionist period, particularly Van Gogh, as well as the brushstrokes of Australian artist John Perceval, Nelus' works are filled with tremendous energy. He combines dramatic, almost violent brushstrokes, lavish textures and resonant colors to depict the sinuous beauty of Australia.
Henri Matisse once remarked: 'Do I believe in God? Yes, when I am working, when I am submissive and modest. I feel myself to be greatly helped by someone who causes me to do things that exceed my capabilities.'
In Nelus' work there is a similar sense of transcendence, as he explores a spiritual relationship with the Australian environment. His energetic approach to the creative process is an attempt to engage with the newness of nature, and each of his paintings contains the intensity of a newly formed, or perceived, landscape.
Rather then simply being representations of particular locations, Nelus' paintings move beyond the canvas into the realm of personal experience and subconscious images. They reflect the tension between nature and the human element, and celebrate the natural beauty of Australia. Nelus' current works draw upon both childhood memories and adult sensibilities, focusing on the landscape as both physical and culturally encoded site.
The prospect of this small opening speech contains a reference that could possibly cause some confusion. It says “From European view.” Is not this specification unstable? Can Australia not be considered a continuation or extension of Europe? Shortly after James Cook at the end of the 18th century reached Australian shores, the 5th continent became like Great Britain's Siberia: Anyone that you wanted to get rid of they would be shipped off to the convict colony of Australia. A distinguished translation of “Down under” would sound like “ans Ende der Welt.”(in German). Australia soon became the land of the immigrants but unlike the USA, in Australia only the whites reserved the right to establish themselves. The root of Australia was British but with time also came immigrants from other countries that undertook the long journey to the southern half of the globe. Not long after the 2nd world war, the grip the United Kingdom had on Australia had loosened and the country’s focus was now directed to nationalism.
“Down under” is now considered somewhat of a quality seal. One is proud to come from “down under.” The basis of this pride is European. Although the US currently has a strong influence on this country and for that matter so to the ever increasing number of immigrants from Asia, the basis of Australia’s identity grows as the heir of Europe. This also counts for art...
If you are interested in viewing the artwork of Nelus Oana, you can book an appointment or contact Nelus on the information below.