I have a habit of drawing while driving, paying attention to the road but also blindly recording as much as I can. These initial drawings serve as source for larger works. What interests me is the condition of being in transit and the special quality of these drawings in that they arrive at places I could not have envisioned if they were planned compositions. If there is a narrative impulse in my recent works, it is rooted in an idiosyncratic reflection on the space in-between cultures I inhabit as a Romanian living in the United States, outsider to my adoptive culture but not anymore an insider to my native one either. These drawings are but a reflection of this in the accumulation of side-of-the-road visual events that suggests a continual re-orientation. Layering allows me to encapsulate time, allude to history (time plus meaning assigned to it), and is ambiguous in its oscillation between revealing and obscuring. These works position the spectator in a moving vehicle of sorts. This vehicle could be a metaphor for the condition of the immigrant: a space without a place that reveals its meaning only when in motion.
The construction materials and processes I use stand for the simple fact that whatever I refer to as “meaning” is an eluding entity perpetually re-building itself -- a construction and a process. This approach is reflective of my propensity for that which is transitory spatially and temporally and of my interest in immigration as analogous with an "exile of the senses" through which I am trying to flee the strong dominance of sight towards an activation (however visual) of the sense of touch. This activation is a means of suggesting contingency, vulnerability and intersubjectivity. Such tactility implies a contingent way of thinking about the world and carries along uncertainty, honestly reflecting my experience.
Artist Bio / CV
Romanian born Marius Lehene holds an MFA in Drawing and Painting from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, 2001, and a BA in Economics from Babes-Bolyai University, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 1996. Lehene’s studies of Art and Economics went in parallel for a while. After studying for three years at the University for Art and Design, in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, he moved to the United States in 1998, where he has been exhibiting since 1999. Since 2002, Lehene teaches drawing and works with graduate students in drawing as well as in other areas at Colorado State University. Together with Dr. Matthew Cooperman, he runs the Accidental Vestments, a collaboration between the MFA programs in Creative Writing and Studio Art at Colorado State University. Lehene has been a visiting faculty member at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and has participated in artist residencies there as well as at Jentel, Wyoming, and Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico. He has done collaborative projects with poets Matthew Cooperman and Logan Burns, and with artist Simonetta Moro. Besides the United States his work has been shown in his native Romania, Hungary, and Australia. In his practice Lehene uses construction materials and processes as metaphor for the fact that meaning is itself a construction and a process. His recent work is an idiosyncratic reflection of the space in-between cultures that he inhabits as a Romanian living and working in the US.