Roman Tolici is associated with a photographic realism infused by poetry and a surreal sense of everyday existence. His paintings seem to be details of a monumental story related to the general human questions and anxieties.

This narrative force turns the recurrent subjects into never-ending chapters and the reflections of everyday life into projections about time, memory and traces captured by the artist's tender perception.


His understanding of poetry, photographic realism and pursuit of mundane subjects made me think of the great Russian Non-Conformist Semyon Faibisovich. But, underpinned by a strong horizontal emphasis, Tolici panned out from Faibisovich close-up to reveal the bigger picture – eschewing Faibisovich’s attempts to coat mundanity in poetic blur.

It came as no surprise to learn that Tolici had graduated in Graphic Art. His technique is razor-sharp. 


Many artists, after achieving success, stick to the style that has brought them it. Not Tolici. Although his brushwork retains its Ingresque precision, now with an even defter touch, his vision has morphed from photo-realist to surrealist. 

Roman Tolici's works come in different sizes and formats – some large, some small; some vertical, some horizontal; one can even hang at a diagonal. There is humour, irony, hope, hopelessness, magnificent painting and neo-Vorticist spatial awareness. Some canvases are busy, others almost empty. The underlying message? You tell me. Each work creates a world of its own. These paintings exist to be absorbed.

I first saw his works in 2008 at Bucharest’s MNAC: a vast, CeauČ™escian space where paintings can easily lose themselves. Tolici’s paintings (dominated by his Park series) occupied it and my mind. (Simion Hewitt, curator)