It might have seemed that Mircea But , who finished his studies at the University of Art and Design ClujNapoca in 2015, rebelled against the painterly realism that had made the previous generation famous, because he filled the canvas of his abstract paintings with striped patterns, polygonal network of lines and industrial surfaces. However, it was not the Frank Stella-like nonreferring formalism that he was interested in, but rather the classical questions of painting. He completed his studies with a monumental abstract landscape series dedicated to Monet(Claude Monet Street, 2015), since he was interested in the path towards abstraction. “It was Monet who took the first step towards it with his large-scale Water Lilies” – he says. Another exemplar of his is the “painter of painters”, Diego Velázquez, whom he admires for his professional know-how and delicate brushstrokes. The starting point for Mircea But is not only the natural and urban landscape, but the sight filtered through the visual system, the painter’s eye. Being the resident artist of Galeria Plan B in Berlin, he took photos of the fragments of the urban environment in the German capital that served as a base for his nonfigurative series in which he searched for the formal balance of layered structures that defined the first two-three years of his path. The precisely structured framework is realized in a spatial material with sensitively formed painterly tools: he put plaster on the canvas in a way it is applied to walls and he carved vacillating lines into the monochrome painting with the handle of the brush. The surface preserving the fresh gestures is treated with acrylic or at times with industrial spray paint. He worked with sensitive scales of greys, lilacs and greens, letting the artificially created quiet melancholy prevail. The abstraction put together from differently coloured and textured fields is evoking the aesthetics of old industrial iron doors with rippled paint (vide the milieu of the late Brush Factory in Cluj – where But had his first studio). In his latest Cemetery Landscape series – from the second part of 2017 – he returned to the tradition of depicting reality, within that to the picturesqueness of the impressionists, while he is unfolding the real origin of his green scale – from the woods blunted with mist to the mossy undergrowth. In his latest pieces he is painting the rural cemeteries around Baia Mare with gloomy autumn trees, crosses, wooden headstones, grassy graves and the inevitable artificial flowers. But isn’t painting morbid cemetery vistas, but is looking for the pulsing, discrete and almost invisible signs of life – from feasting worms to the blooming plant life. “Only the artificial flowers are really dead – he says, - even though they seem alive, they are ridiculous products, the last desperate gestures of immortality.” Beyond the branches of the trees the sky opens hopefully. “Death is natural, there is nothing dark in it” – he adds.