Meditations on the New Cold War
reviewed by Ed McCormack, Gallery and Studio, March/April 2014
Like the South African draftsman, video animator and filmmaker William Kentridge, Linda Ganus Albulescu is a creator of nonlinear postmodern narratives who often finds inspiration for her work in topical subjects gleaned from headlines and the evening news, interpreting them with a subtle, thoughtful obliqueness that can affect us more deeply and subliminally than the head-on-tragedy with which mass media force-feeds us daily.
Here, she focuses in on the “New Cold War” in a series of various sized paintings in acrylic on panel or canvas – which she suggests “may be connected like rebuses or exquisite corpses” – on the lurking possibility of New Cold War that began when Moscow granted asylum to Edward Snowdon and is now threatening to heat up over the situation in Ukraine.
Ganus Albulescu relates these developments to the 50th anniversary of two major Hollywood films, the thriller-drama “Fail Safe” and the black comedy “Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” both about a Cold War nuclear crisis and released in 1964.
A close-up grisaille portrait of Henry Fonda as the anxious U.S. president in “Fail Safe” faced with fielding the crisis is played off against a pale, strained and stressed “Russian Ballerina” rehearsing in one of Moscow’s notoriously rigorous ballet scholls with her arms outstretched as if for a crucifixion.
As with her portraits, the agitated energy of Linda Ganus Albulescu’s fluent brushwork adds further tension to related paintings such as “Mantabot,” depicting an underwater drone resembling a robotic shark currently being developed by the U.S. Navy, and “Mines,” explosives with chains attached to spike-studded steel balls that resemble 21st-century mass destructive updates of the medieval mace.