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Visual journey . . . Romanian-born artist Ioan Grigore with his painting Sometimes it is more difficult to surrender than to win which is one of 17 in his "Talking to Myself" exhibition, at Forrester Gallery until December 5. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH

Self-analysis can be a difficult, but necessary part of life’s journey, artist Ioan Grigore says.

In his exhibition ‘‘Talking to Myself’’, at the Forrester Gallery, Grigore presents a ‘‘visual translation’’ of a written journey within himself.

The abstracts were all oil on canvas, using 17 sentences to create 17 artworks.

‘‘Let’s say I write three pages, and I read and I just simply pick out the essential experiences, throughout this self-analysing.’’

Each painting has the corresponding sentence written within the painting.

‘‘For me, the journey, it’s a process of analysing. The difficult ones are when you are involved. When the process of analysing is about yourself,’’ he said.

‘‘When it comes to self-analysing, you don’t necessarily need a reason for it. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.’’

Grigore had been working on these paintings for five years — he began three years before his mother died of Alzheimer’s disease.

‘‘For 10 years we took care of her,’’ he said.

‘‘And that was a journey.’’

Each painting had a small cross, resembling the Southern Cross, hidden in it.

‘‘That’s my mum

‘‘I still want very, very much for my mum to be part of this.’’

The Romanian-born artist moved to Christchurch with his wife Riane de Koster in 1996. They established an art school, teaching people with intellectual disabilities and mental health conditions.

In 2002, the couple moved to Oamaru and opened a similar studio, Art Connections, which operated until 2005, when Grigore began painting fulltime.

When visiting the exhibition, Grigore encouraged people to view the paintings, or journey, in order from start to finish.

Some of the paintings in the middle of the sequence were quite sad, he said.

‘‘The paintings when, through this process, you reach the bottom rung.’’

A lot of the art had what he described as ‘‘tears’’ running down.

‘‘This is the struggle.’’

The last painting in the series, I’m not home/I’m not what/I’m not where I want to be, but I am with who I want to be is ‘‘what life is about’’, Grigore said.

‘‘You come from different backgrounds, you are still dancing together.

‘‘This is the most important thing in life.

‘‘Regardless what you go through, you shouldn’t be alone. And from this point of view, I’m very lucky,’’ he said.

Talking to Myself runs at the Forrester Gallery until December 5.