Master of His Art

RIVAA's Elder Statesman, Abstract Expressionist Valeriu Boborelu

David Stone
End of the Day: At Bobo's Studio
End of the Day: At Bobo's Studio
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Frustrated with his career as a painter in Romania, Valeriu Boborelu got government permission to accept an offer to paint in Paris in 1982. He never looked back, migrating from France to the United States with his wife and working as an artist in New York ever since.

"Art is the happiness and joy of life."

Valeriu Boborelu

I'm happy to say Valeriu Boborelu, better known as "Bobo," is a friend of mine.

Bobo is a member and active leader at Gallery RIVAA, which is where I met him while covering art for the former Main Street WIRE. Along with contributing his own deeply inspired pictures, he volunteers his experience in setting up shows for his artists.

Boborelu's career began in his native Romania, and after an invitation to work in Paris, continued in the United States where he has lived and worked since 1983.

His imaginative and often intensely colorful paintings are expressions inspired by spiritual insights and passions. Indefinite symbolic figures with historical references find their way into swimming, swirling worlds of acrylic on canvas. 

Lets Look at the Art


We can start out with a straightforward, purely abstract expressionist painting. Composition is without a subject as such. It isn't "about" anything in the same way that Jackson Pollack's drip paintings aren't.


As a painting, it's an unharnessed presentation of colors and energies. Fiery reds and yellows dominate the foreground, like lead actors, while the background falls off into ineffable blues and greens with no certain bottom.

What I can't convey remotely well enough with a photograph are the rich surface textures of this painting, the brushstrokes of various thicknesses and viscosities as they make up with this beautiful and power-packed painting.

Composition is 30 inches by 30 inches, acrylic on canvas. In keeping with abstract tradition, it is unframed.


Resurrection offers one of the most encompassing subjects any artist in any medium can tackle.

"In my paintings, the Idea, Concepts of Deities, and Human Beings are inspired and connected to manifestations and experiences from real life. These Deities usually manifest on subtle levels, and represent the interdependence between physical and non-material worlds, all pervading sentient energies, and unlimited Compassion and Wisdom. They are essences of the vital, psychological, mental propensities of Human Beings."


Using a limited palette from black through brown to tan, Bobo paints surging energies and currents and a single symbolic, ethereal figure.

The painting is dense with overlapping fields of reality, some having no true intersection with any others. As with many of his paintings, there is a deep and mysterious background that seems infinitely receding.

Aquarius New Age Beings

Here, in a much more figurative painting, Bobo shows us two symbolic figures wreathed in halo-like pearls of energy.

Aquarius New Age Beings
Aquarius New Age Beings

Aquarius New Age Beings is lighter and more playful without sacrificing genuine representation. These beings seem almost to be swept up in a dance as musical points emerge from the background like colorful grace notes and pass them.

"I strive to express human shape in a geometric aspect, reminiscent of ancestral, anthropomorphic silhouettes (like Romanian figure-shaped ceramic jugs)."

Vertical Space

in Vertical Space, Bobo expresses non-material realities in vivid, vibrating blues.

Surfaces appear to rush upward from some source as they smear the canvas, edging other energies to the side and rearranging orientations.

Vertical Space
Vertical Space

Vertical Space is the kind of painting that will cause you to look at and even meditate about as it's various energies and poses represent themselves to you in an endless series of appearances. 

Anca & Max

Pen on Paper Drawing by Valeriu Boborelu

In this pen drawing on thick artist's paper, Boborelu captures the spiritual essences of both his daughter and his dog.

Anca & Max
Anca & Max

Anca & Max are captured in a fuzzy, flowing world reminiscent of quantum space. Here, physical certainty is relaxed and spiritual dimensions vibrate.

Edges are smudged, and personalities form out of harmonious gatherings of energy. 

Blast from the Romanian Past

Shortly after I first wrote about Boborelu, the son of a colleague from many years ago in Romania saw it and contacted me.

He wanted to send best wishes to the artist, who doesn't do internet or email, and to share a couple of paintings he'd inherited from this father.

Back then, Bobo still used oils and was still figurative.

An Early Work, Oil on Canvas by Valeriu Boborelu in Romania
An Early Work, Oil on Canvas by Valeriu Boborelu in Romania

I chose one to show here that reflects the Romanian landscapes the artists who have migrated often talk about. I thought it added some perspective to his current, brighter, more spiritual and abstract paintings.

Some wrap up notes

“All Artists are in a Continuum Interdependence, Unity, spiritual exchange and inspiration, and thus we can metaphorically say that '...all Artists are painting on the same Canvas...'"

Valeriu Boborelu is a member and leader of Gallery RIVAA in New York City, where he shows his work regularly. Anyone interested in his work is welcome to visit Gallery RIVAA.

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