The Leslie Curran Gallery @ ARTicles presents the exhibition ORACLE: Irina Moldovan & James Oleson

Moldovan’s acrylic paintings combine richly colored backgrounds with gold leaf laid in grid-like precision. Paired with Oleson’s heraldic animalia made of metal, the exhibition emphasizes the colors, media, and symbology often associated with royalty, magic, and other forms of power.

MOLDOVAN’S abstract works are painted with acrylic and gold leaf. The reflective quality of metal leaf adds a luminous dimension to the composition. The earliest use of gold can be traced back to ancient Egyptian civilizations, and gold leaf is most commonly recognized as a major decorative element of illuminated religious manuscripts from the middle ages. Moldovan’s traditional choice of medium has been strikingly reinterpreted in this contemporary fine art context. The initial impact is of a graphic pattern of reflective material floating on a deep background, while viewing the work up close reveals a complexity of layers as well as the traces of the artist’s mark-making and the nuanced texture of the gold leaf applied by hand.

OLESON describes himself as “a modern day street alchemist, making beauty in the rubble.” Salvaging and manipulating cast-off materials, he transforms the mundane into neo-surrealist sculpture, deriving inspiration from the subconscious. From miniature to monumental,the sculptor’s mythological creatures, including headless horses and griffons, are part of an ever-expanding personal folklore of powerful and majestic beasts made by painstakingly welding together small metal bits and pieces. The result is an delightfully textured mass that has remarkable visual impact from both afar and in detail.

IRINA MOLDOVAN earned a BA from Weber State University in Utah in 2005. Her works have been exhibited in group exhibitions throughout the United States, including Infusion Gallery in Los Angeles, The Studio @ 620 in St Petersburg, and Art:Raw Gallery in NYC. She can be found in several public and private collections and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Parallel to studio work, she held positions as an art instructor for adults with disabilities and helped manage the Chihuly Collection during her time in St Petersburg. Moldovan was born in Isjum, Ukraine and currently lives in San Francisco.

JAMES OLESON is a sculptor and painter currently living and creating in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he is owner and creative director of Bloom Art Center. Oleson’s iconic work has been exhibited at numerous galleries and can be found in public and private collections throughout the United States. He is the recipient of many awards and grants including a 2015 Individual Artist Grant from the City of St. Petersburg and 2010 Best in Show at ArtLoud Tampa. Oleson currently teaches sculpture at the Morean Arts Center.