Painted in 1980, Structura Vegetala Subterana II (Subterranean Vegetal Structure II) by Romanian artist Romul Nutiu is an explosive expression of the seduction of natural, organic forms. Translated from scientific investigations of plants and their biological structures, Subterranean Vegetal Structure II presents a spontaneous and animated tableau, reminiscent of the gestural brushwork of the Abstract Expressionists. With a rapid and vigorous action, earthy browns and crimsons are applied, edged by vibrant yellows and whites. At the very centre, a lone patch of sky blue appears.
Subterranean Vegetal Structure II celebrates an important stage of Nutiu’s research and artistic concerns. He examines the nature of the pictorial gesture in reference with natural form and forces. His interest in natural science and the chaos theory are revealing when looking at Subterranean Vegetal Structure II. With impulsive and natural flair, the painting appears wholly abstract at first. Yet upon understanding Nutiu’s source material, the viewer begins to see vegetal and terrestrial forms which seem to spring out from all over the canvas.
With a palette that reminds of Gauguin’s explorations of the so-called ‘primitive’, Subterranean Vegetal Structure II joins in the long tradition of modernism. Active during the artistically oppressive regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, Nutiu’s practice ran in direct contrast to the realist propaganda of the time. His pictorial style is based on the disruption of the form, with its multi-layered texture and structures. In the same way that a plant emerges suddenly from the ground, the dynamic configurations of this painting conjure an energetic atmosphere, brimming with tension and vitality.