isus_vita _vie_acsa



The itinerary of Ioan Borlean appears different, born in Maramures (living and working in Vadu Izei), one of those occasional creators that JEAN DUBUFFET called with sympathy "the uncommon of art". Even if in episodes, his painting activity it is not a smaller passion of this self-improving man for over 35 years.
After his first tries as a debutant with the inherent clumsiness, followed some more convincing works. Trying as any patient debutant all kinds of genres from classic painting to "still-life", landscapes, in the last category ending up by finding his main source of inspiration.
Landscape, to any inhabitant from Maramures, is primarily his garden, this corner of the world he cultivates without being tired; then a little bit further, the curtain of the trees on the side of the river, the green hill, the ancestral land that he is connected to by unknown cords and the guardian and heir of which he feels.
A profound veneration for landscape confessed by the inhabitants of these places.

As, more than a simple way of being, this almost mystical rapport with nature, is the depth itself of the "Romanian soul". It is this landscape that Ioan Borlean's paintings try to give us back.In his most famous works, those who keep all the proportions and come close to the first Mondrian (that of ponds) something happens with the secret alchemy between domestic and cosmic. Since a few years, Ioan Borlean's works have been knowing a real evolution.
Letting more and more go of oil painting, and in the same time of landscape painting etc, he makes today his exclusive option: to paint icons.
In fact it is exactly the part of his creations that he chose to present here. What is alike ,at first sight, in the works of these artists? Behind the different objectives (work, environment), and even less bigger than a superficial look might assume, all confess the same powerful attachment, in the absence of a better word ,I would call tradition; this level of identity where one can find what we call "the Romanian soul". His holding on as an artist consists in it.

* Catalog of the Gallery Exhibition "L'ephemere" in Braine-le-Compte, Belgium ,1993.




Ioan Borlean paints his icons on glass while listening to Mozart, Bach or Romanian folk music. His work is his refuge, a space that is traditionally decorated,where rugs, pots, local carpets and icons are mingled.
Since the revolution Ioan Borlean has been dedicating himself to his passion, prohibited before by the communist regime. Form the very simple expression at first, in two dimensions ,after the tradition of the anonymous icons in Maramures, Ioan's art has evolved to a more personal and expressive technique.

He paints bigger formats, he builds spiritual calendars of a great delicacy and sells his creations immediately, especially to people from towns and to foreigners. He exhibits in the Ethnographic Museum in Sighet and at the Romanian Peasant Museum in Bucharest, but has no time to stay at exhibitions and festivals. Beside other hobbies he is also a radio technician, out of which he earns his living. He also decorated his own house, that he and his wife transformed in a touristic pension and presides many associations which are involved in local development.

* Sophie MANEVAL ,Article in the Magazine "Village Magazine ,nr 83/2006" - France



With delicate, light movements, Ioan Borlean's paints on glass saints and religious symbols that have been encountered in the North-West of Romania since the year 1700.His home village, Vadu Izei has a growing fame among the European tourists because of its natural beauty and the growing number of artists and craftsmen. As president of the Village Committee for tourism and development, Ioan Borlean's vision has to be artistic and pragmatic at the same time.
* Mati BRADLEY, Article from the Magazine "The Gift", 2000 - U.S.A


"I am glad that around Christmas time you colored the icon of the Saviour with the blessed wheat seed, revived out of love and faith, in the most archaic land of joy and above this you worked thoroughly and with respect for the original icon."

Ion ZUBASCU Article from the Newspaper "Adevărul",Romania,1995.


Viorel  IGNA*

Inspired by the icons of Nicula, very spread in Maramures in very old times , Ioan Borlean uses the same work technique as the school in Nicula, with a complex line made with the painter's brush, a color scheme alike to that of this school but done with fast-dry, more resistant modern colors.
What is surprising is that his paintings have a degree of spontaneity, almost rationally uncensored like a "yell" as he likes to call it which does not stay in place but attracts to eternity by total contradiction with the earthly and the figurative representation of Evil which is nothing but the Devil in us, but submitted to a very careful and necessary censorship by humility and prayer.

Icons on glass are as we all know a biblical representation that we were accustomed by popular craftsmen, the biblical representation itself.
The overestimation of the idea of icons and art of the icon may become at a moment tautological, but Ioan Borlean tries to forget the tautological but not the ancestors. In icons like "Saint George" , "The Ascension " ,"The Birth of Jesus Christ", "Jesus and the grape-vine", the human face and the supra-human always surrounding itself with some clumsiness, deviations from perfection, but this erratic style receives an organic and live air.
The masters line therefore presents intentional deviations from the definition of the line, and from here the aliveness of this geometrical aspect and the faith that those who will look at least once to be able to imagine that they are free of sins".
* Viorel IGNA, Article from the Newspaper "Clipa", Romania,1993.



Date and place of birth: March 15th, 1958, Vadu lzei, Maramureș, România
Studies of arts:
1970 - 1973 - Student of the School of Arts from Sighetu Marmatiei
          - teachers: Peter Elisabeta, Arpad Ciobo ;
1973 – 1977 - Student of School of Arts Baia Mare;                                         
1981 - Study workshop in Bucharest with painter Vasile Pop-Negreșteanu ;
1992 - The beginning for studying and experimenting painting icons on glass, realizing his first pieces (self-taught)

1971- First personal exhibition (watercolor and oil) opened in the presence of illustrator Vasile Kazar at Vadu Izei Youth Club ;
1971- Exhibition in duet with Robert Pasztor at School of Arts from Sighetu Marmatiei (watercolor on paper), first appearance in county newspaper ;
1974 - Participation at an international exhibition in London - England, with a watercolor piece (70 X 50 cm) ;
1973 - 1977- Several group exhibitions at the Culture House from Baia Mare ;
1977 - Solo exhibition at Baia Mare School of Arts (oil on canvas and cardboard) ;
1990 - Group Exhibition « Painting of freedom » along with Belgian Wallonia painters in Braine-Ie-Compte, Belgium (monochrome drawings on paper reprezenting old houses from Zavoi, Vadu Izei) ;
1993 - Solo exhibition - icons panited on glass at French Cultural Center from Sighetu Marmatiei ;
1993 - Exhibition in duet with sculptor Mihai Borodi - icons on glass in Braine-le-Compte, Ephemer Galery, Belgium ;
1994 - Solo exhibition - icons painted on glass at Press House from Sighetu Marmatiei ;
1995 - Permanent exhibition of icons painted on glass, at OVR Foundation, headquartered in Vadu Izei ;
1997 - Permanent exhibition of icons painted on glass - Open workshop in Vadu Izei, included in international tourist circuits ;
1998 - Exhibition of icons painted on glass in Saramon-Gers, France ;
2003 - Exhibition of icons painted on glass at National Museum of the Romanian Peasant from Bucharest (celebration of "The 40 Saints Martyrs") ;
        - Exhibition of icobographers at National Museum of the Romanian Peasant (celebration of “Cross Day”) ;
2003 - National Museum of Traditional Arts of France acquires a piece from Vadu Izei exhibition, for the web site presentation of European Collections of paintings on glass ;
2005 - Exhibition icons on glass at International Tourism Festival , Pyrénées , Val d' Azun them, France ;
2009 - Exhibition of icons on glass at Nîmes, France, on the occasion of Europe Day ;
2017 - Exhibition of icons on glass at Maramuresian Museum, Sighetu Marmației. 
2018 - Group exhibition "Gheorghe Chivu - 100 years", Radio Hall in Sighetu Marmatiei. 
2022 - Exhibition at the Sighetu Marmației Pastoral Cultural Center in the company of the architect Dorel Cordoș. 
2022 - Personal painting exhibition at the Maramuresian Museum, Sighetu Marmației.