Sanda Iliescu

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Sanda Iliescu is a practicing artist and professor of art and architecture at the University of Virginia. Her paintings, drawings and collages have been exhibited in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, as well as Italy and Germany. Her work has been exhibited at the Art Verge Art Fair, Miami (2009) and the Bridge Art Fair, Berlin (2008). Iliescu's artwork is represented by Vagabond Gallery in New York. Among her professional awards are The Rome Prize and The Distinguished Artist Award of the New Jersey State Council of the Arts. In 2004, she has been awarded the All University Teaching Award by the University of Virginia.

At UVA Professor Iliescu teaches painting, drawing and design studios. Through her teaching, she seeks to deepen the dialogue between the University and the broader community. In response to a rash of sexist and racial graffiti on campus in 2005, she designed the public art project, 271 Words, in which 271 local citizens and students painted the words of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on a public bridge in Charlottesville. In the summer of 2008, Iliescu worked with students and local citizens to create Blades of Grass: A Bus Painted for Children, a public art project sponsored by the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department, the Piedmont Council for the Arts and The Bridge / Progressive Arts Initiative.

Professor Iliescu's course Lessons in Making introduces many liberal arts students to aesthetic and ethical issues in art and design. Her upper level courses Drawing & Collage and Painting and Public Art explore theoretical and practical relationships of ethics and aesthetics. With Dean Karen Van Lengen and Professor Robin Dripps Iliescu organized the 2002 Ethics-Aesthetics Symposium at the School of Architecture. Iliescu's edited volume: The Hand and the Soul: aesthetics and ethics in architecture and art was recently published by the University of Virginia Press. Her recently published essays include “The Garden as Collage” (in the Fall 2007 issue of Studies in the History of Gardens and Landscape Design) and“Beyond Cut-And-Paste” (in the spring 2008 issue of Places: Forum of Design for the Public Realm). In addition to developing her artwork, Professor Iliescu is currently working on a book manuscript About Drawing: Meditations on How and Why We Draw.


(an autobiographical poem by Sanda Iliescu*)

Si is “yes” in Italian.
“Yes” is “da” in Romanian.
Si. Yes. Da.

Sanda starts with s.
Sanda is Sandra with no r.
I is for Iliescu,

For “I see,” “I sing,” and “I make:”
Drawings, collages, paintings,
And all kinds of nameless constructions.

In Romania,
Where I was born,
Iliescu means “son of Ilie.”

Ilie is Elijah,
That old titan who drives his cart through the sky,
Making the wheels groan and rumble,

And sound like thunder.
Yet Romanian children know
It’s Elijah driving his cart though the sky.

I Am for an Art...
(18 lines in the form of Claes Oldenberg’s 1961 manifesto)

I am for an art that rejects smoothness.
I am for an art that is real, raw, rough, and ridiculous.
I am for an art that makes me laugh.
I am for an art that is impure and imperfect.
I am for an art that is inconsistent.
I am for an art that is open.

I am for an art that is unfinished.
I am for an art that is old, honest, and uncouth.
I am for an art that is all torn up and scratched up.
I am for an art that is free of fancy technique and special effects.
I am for an art that is non-nostalgic, non-sentimental, and non-professional.
I am for an art that is joyful and purposeless.

I am for an art that is practical.
I am for an art that makes do with what is possible.
I am for an art that seeks the improbable.
I am for an art that is wild and dream-like.
I am for an art that is impossible to explain.
I am for an art that is.

Curriculum vitae

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