Sanda Iliescu

Associate Professor of Art and Architecture

Born in Romania, Sanda Iliescu is a visual artist, designer, and Associate Professor of Architecture and Studio Art at the University of Virginia. She received her BSE in Civil Engineering and Masters of Architecture, both from Princeton University.

Iliescu has a deep interest in public art and she has created numerous public art projects, some with her art and architecture students. In 2010 she has created the installation Lines of Darkness and Light, which has received wide national coverage. For seven days the south columns of Jefferson’s Rotunda at UVA were veiled in dark, transparent material. Designed by Iliescu and executed by university staff and volunteers, this installation marked the Day of Dialogue at the University of Virginia, an event that focused attention on the problem of violence and intolerance on campus. Iliescu created her 2005 installation 271 Words: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in response to a rash of racist and hate graffiti on the UVA campus. On the parapets of Beta Bridge, Iliescu orchestrated the painting of the Gettysburg Address by passersby. Each participant painted a single word in the 271-word address.

Gallery Molly Krom based in New York City and Berlin, and Les Yeux du Monde gallery in Charlottesville represent Iliescu artwork. Iliescu’s recent artwork includes intimately scaled collages and drawings, such as her Kitchen Table Collages and her “Birds Drawn with My Left Hand” series, as well as larger abstractions such as her RECOVER paintings and Trash-Bag Trees collage series. Carmen Bambach, Curator of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Paul Barolsky, Commonwealth Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia, have written critical essays on Iliescu’s artwork.

Iliescu’s professional awards include The Rome Prize, a McDowell fellowship in painting, and The Distinguished Artist Award of the New Jersey State Council of the Arts. Iliescu has won prestigious teaching awards, including the “Extraordinary Contributor Teaching Award” (2014), and the “All University Teaching Award” (2004), both from the University of Virginia.

Iliescu’s book The Hand and the Soul: aesthetics and ethics in architecture and art was published by UVa Press in 2009. Her published essays include “The Garden as Collage” (Studies in the History of Gardens and Landscape Design, fall 2007), “Beyond Cut-And-Paste” (Places: Forum of Design for the Public Realm, spring 2008), “Laocoön” (City Secrets: Rome, 2nd edition, Robert Kahn, ed., spring 2011), and “un-PAINTING: An Aleatoric Composition” (Catalyst, Ghazal Abbasy-Asbagh, ed., NYC: Actar, 2013).