Mariana Sain-Morar

about the artist
restoration and conservation
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In the battle against the lie, Art has always been victorious.” — Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The role of art in a totalitarian country, as Romania was in my youth, is different than it is in the free world. Under a totalitarian regime the art is either forced to surpass its aesthetic function, to engage in the fight against the Lie, exposing it, or to be a simple tool used by those regimes to distort the reality. In those circumstances the truth could not be openly spoken, therefore it took unusual forms, which were hard to grasp at first glance.

The majority of my work done in Romania does not easily reveal itself to the hurried viewer. These paintings have hidden connotations, although always a message based on general human values, which could not be freely expressed in a totalitarian regime. Scenes of everyday life acquire expressionist and dramatic nuances, the chromatic palette usually being based on deep, grave tones, seldom touched by light tones, used not to solve the mystery but to accentuate it. Still there is hope; there is the power to trust in a better and just world.

The artist is a pilgrim on the road toward the divine. He is on a dynamic waiting pathway and each piece comes as a step forward in understanding reality and communicating it to the world. The steps are not symmetrical. They might have different forms and heights, the artist trying to avoid walking monotonously and repeating himself. In this process of becoming, the artist perhaps should follow Gabriel Marcel’s words: “For the Subject to speak, one must allow Him to converse”.

I want my art to be a witness and a challenge for the viewer who wants to know and understand a different culture, a dark, sad period in the history of a nation; a period that should not be repeated anywhere, ever.

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about the artist

Born in Romania, Mariana Sain-Morar received her formal training and developed her artistic skills in her native land. During her college years she exhibited her work in Romania and Hungary. Her professional career began in 1982 after receiving her degree from the Academy of Fine Art, Iasi.

While continuing to paint, she spent the next three years as an art teacher in Predeal - Romania. In 1985 she decided to continue her education in the restoration field. She worked for seven years restoring old churches from the National Patrimony (14th-18th century) as part of a restoration team led by the best-known Romanian experts in the field.

Under communism, the most somber period in Romania’s artistic history, Mariana was not often able to exhibit her art because her paintings did not fit within the social-realist type of art that fed the Romanian dictator’s personality cult.

After the Revolution, she was accepted as a member of the Romanian Artist Union in 1990. That same year she was able to travel and exhibit in England. At the Tate Gallery in London she saw for the first time paintings by Turner, which impressed her very much.

Another exhibition that included her work in Saint Petersburg followed. During that trip to Russia, in 1991, Mariana was able to visit the Hermitage Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow. In 1994, during a trip to Austria she saw a retrospective of George Rouault, whose work has influenced her own.

She is particularly known for creating in her paintings a surrealist atmosphere without employing surrealistic technique. Basic line defines Sain-Morar’s drawings: “They are as simple as those on the caves at Lascaux, yet more expressive with their own personalities” — Joan Crowder.

Mariana came to the United States in 1992 and continues to work and exhibit from her studio in San Diego. Her works are in private collections in USA, England, France, Germany, Russia, Italy and Romania.


  • Current Gallery representation
  • Colosseum Fine Arts Gallery -San Diego, CA
  • Imaging The World Gallery - Santa Fe, NM
  • Selected Personal and Group Exhibitions
  • 2011, Gallery 104, San Clemente, CA
  • 2010, Ordover Gallery -Solana Beach, CA
  • 2010, “Velvet Valtz” - Ico Gallery, Chelsea New York, NY
  • 2009, “Biennale InternazionaleDell’Arte Contemporanea” - Fortezza da Basso, Florence, Italy
  • 2009, “The Sacred Within” - Colosseum Fine Arts Gallery, San Diego, CA
  • 2009, “Enigmatic Visions” - Agora Gallery, Chelsea New York, NY
  • 2008, “Chromatic Memories” - India Street Gallery, San Diego, CA
  • 2008, “FigurativelySpeaking” - Agora Gallery, Chelsea New York, NY
  • 2008, “Third Eye” - Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, Chelsea New York, NY
  • 2006—2007, Randall M. Hasson Gallery - Solana Beach, CA
  • 2003—2004, Simic Gallery - La Jolla, CA
  • 2002, “Window into Eternity” Dadian Gallery - Washington, DC
  • 2000—2002, Svitozor Gallery - Santa Barbara, CA
  • 1998, Evelyn Siegel Gallery - “Meet the Artist Luncheon” Series. Fort Worth, TX - One person show
  • 1997, “Convergence of Kinds”- A Collaboration Invitational - Irving, TX
  • 1995, “Millennium” - Biblical Arts Center - Dallas, TX
  • 1995, “Vision : America” - Juried exhibition - Fort Worth, TX
  • 1995, University of Mary Harden Baylor - Belton, TX - One person show
  • 1995, “The song of degrees, song of ascents” - Temple, TX - One person show
  • 1995, “Introspection” - Biblical Arts Center - Dallas, TX - One person show
  • 1995, Navarro Council of the Arts - Juried exhibition - Corsicana, TX
  • 1995, Seaside Art Gallery - International Miniature Art Show
  • 1994, International Artists Gallery - Detroit, Michigan - One person show
  • 1994, Navarro Council of the Arts - Juried exhibition - Corsicana, TX
  • 1993, “Byzantine Icons” - San Antonio, TX (two persons show)
  • 1992, “Sacred Fire” - Beloselsky-BelozerskyPalace, Saint Petersburg, Russia - (curated by Jerry Eisley)
  • 1991, “International Christian Artist” - Sheffield, England
  • 1991, Alpha Gallery - “Stigma” group exhibition - Arad, Romania
  • 1991, “Human condition and society” - “Stigma” group exhibition -Cluj, Romania
  • 1988, “The family” - National juried exhibition - Bucharest, Romania
  • 1983, Juried teachers exhibition - Central Gallery - Brasov, Romania
  • 1982, Juried exhibition for emerging artists - Arad, Romania
  • 1981, “The Romanian artist” - juried exhibition - Oroshaza, Hungary
  • 1981, Student exhibition - University Gallery - Iasi, Romania

restoration and conservation

Between 1985 and 1991, Sain-Morar restored the following Romanian historical monuments (frescos):

  • COZIA” monastery - 15th century
  • CLOCOCIOV” monastery - 16th century
  • SFINTA PARASCHIVA” Orthodox Church - 17th century
  • SFINTA SOFIA” Orthodox Church - 17th century
  • ADORMIREA MAICII DOMNULUI” Orthodox Church - 17th century
  • BISERICA ALBA” Orthodox Church - 19th century
  • SFINTA TREIME” Orthodox Church - 17th century
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