When one steps into the world of Ofelia Hutul’s art, they are immediately struck by a dizzying array of proposals and attitudes. On one hand, there are the stern, monumental architectures, reminiscent of the cold ribs of a Gothic cathedral, and on the other, the incredible detail within stillness. In Hutul’s paintings, there exists a perpetual oscillation between the real and the imaginary, the decency of one character contrasting with the unnatural hardness, seemingly unmotivated, of another.
At times, Hutul’s work flirts with the mirage of childhood, manifesting a “phenomenon of transparency” where the child reveals the invisible. It’s as if she doesn’t paint what she sees, but rather what she knows. Many of her paintings contain these transparencies, especially in the case of nudes.
Nature appears “en abîme,” as in heraldic “ebouchon,” certifying that human nature can successfully compete with the natural world. Here, windows become a metaphor for the human body, a wall, a fortress that preserves its history, not merely the circumstances of the moment.
The interplay between the abstract and the concrete is a constant theme. In one work, figures seem to be captured in a choir, a ritual dance, or a procession. Above them, a triumphal arch, concave, and another convex, like a lens. The third is not the arch of a cathedral, but the arch of eyebrows. Beneath it, an eye behind bars. But from the corner of the eye, a bird emerges. Is it a pigeon, heralding the Fiat luxury? Or an eagle, symbolizing freedom? Hutul leaves the choice, the selection, the interpretation to us.
In another painting, a quintet assembles. Judging by the instruments, one might expect them to prepare for chamber music, perhaps a pre-classical concert. However, one of the characters holds a sorcery book, leading us to imagine they are a group of singers.
One of the most enigmatic images is a study in stillness. An empty frame, perhaps a mirror, a bunch of blue flowers in a vase, everything in shades of ultramarine and ochre, softened by hints of brown.
Hutul’s landscapes challenge perspective not by altering relationships or sections, but by appearing stretched or condensed, like in a painting by El Greco, a “condensation nucleus.” In one almost monochromatic blue landscape, the house looms above, with steps suspended like a crossing over a precipice. The house has just one window or door, spanning its entire wall. Three trees, seemingly neutral, but one leans toward the center of interest, participating in the mystery. A metaphysical turmoil courses through the painting, a wind that stirs nothing tangible but is felt through a change in temperature.
Another elemental and metaphysical wind is reminiscent of a famous medieval engraving, with three witches betrayed by the positions of their long hair, which we find in another emblematic painting.
Then there are three figures, one of them unmistakably a woman, the others androgynous or ephebic. They appear to be startled by a collapse, beams falling like scaffolding. But these beams could be crosses, and the characters are unsure if they are saints, evil, or merely unfortunate souls tormented by a malevolent spirit. On the right, three leaves, which could be three eyes, and beneath the characters, a fantastic and unmotivated shadow, as there’s no apparent light source.
One more painting depicts the lake’s heroine, innocent as a Botticelli virgin, but with half her hair braided in locks or possibly lawnmower cords. Or perhaps the cords are snakes, akin to the Gorgon. In her right hand, the female character (fairy, spirit, muse, siren, desired or painful memory – who knows?) holds an object that could be a blue star, a creation of the sea, a mining flower, or a blue flower symbolizing nostalgia and/or solitude.
Hutul’s vibrational paintings also feature a still life, devoid of flowers but filled with empty or inhaled vases in a cosmic, circular trajectory, like planets. A central pot, unadorned clay, then a supporting vase or mortar (we’re uncertain whether brushes rest inside), a teapot, a cup, a crucible. Ochre and Prussian blue, dirty white in the folds, akin to Chagrin’s paintings. It’s a story that hasn’t yet begun. A sea with turbulent waves like a rebellious sky (or vice versa!), an unnatural rainbow that announces nothing, least of all silence. A fantastic slit is provided by a triangular eye, the sole oasis of light. Naturally, it’s a blue orgy.
Urban landscapes are equally enigmatic and ghostly. A gate, perhaps that of a cemetery, invites us into a city where the eye can hardly find anything. Only a cleverly tempered gray rhythm.
And when you least expect it, in a painting called “Summer Colors,” two trees engage in a chromatic dialogue, from lemon yellow to vermilion, from permanent red to chrome green, all set against a blue that has become personal and customized.
Hutul’s openness to childhood is apparent through her posters, book illustrations, and especially her ability to view the world with awe, candor, and curiosity. For her, painting is compensation, intensive therapy, and a sublime refuge.
If Hutul had to choose between being a scientist (she holds a Ph.D. in Aesthetics/Philosophy from “Al. I. Cuza” University, Iaşi, along with postgraduate studies in Pedagogy and Psychology, a graduate of the “G. Enescu” Academy of Fine Arts, Decorative and Design in Iaşi, a professor of visual arts, LT” DC “Iaşi holder, mentor, coordinator of student pedagogical practice at the” George Enescu “University of Arts, Iaşi; training, symposiums, festivals, competitions, project management, author of specialist books, methodological guides, regulations, methodologies, programs, and scientific articles) and a visual artist, she chose art with her heart. Her works have been exhibited in over 75 solo exhibitions in the country, from Iaşi to Galaţi, Vaslui, Cluj-napoca, Bârlad, Caraş-Severin, Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Botoşani, Suceava, Oneşti, Brăila, Ploiesti, Piatra-Neamt, and Bucharest, as well as abroad: Ukraine (Odessa), the Republic of Moldova (Chisinau and Edinet), Belgium (Brussels), the United States (Hagerstown, Maryland), Italy (Portogruaro), France (Saint-Pierre les Elbeuf), and Bulgaria (Balchik).
Hutul has consistently grappled with time and, at times, emerged victorious. Each of her paintings serves as a gateway to a new universe, an unmistakable blend of utmost clarity and creative fantasy, shaped by an extraordinary sensibility.
Her originality knows no bounds. She doesn’t aim to seduce the viewer with easy solutions; rather, she challenges them, making them complicit in vast aesthetic and transcendental challenges. Thus, she possesses a unique