Sunday, 3 November 2013

Exhibition in the Cornaro Institute in Larnaka

I was asked recently by Andreas Efstathiou to supply some paintings for an exhibition he was curating with his work, Stass Paraskos' and others at the Cornaro Institute, Larnaka.
Thinking about which ones to put in I decided upon one that I did in the first week of arriving in Lempa and one from later on. 
The first is a portrait of a man playing backgammon in Paphos.  This was worked from a sketch I did in my sketchbook and memory; the second is from the still life observations I am doing from local rock.  The formal portraits is a way of creating a portraiture of the Cypriot community,  and the rock paintings is my exploration with the environment and erosion. 
I have been drawn to the idea of erosion and its link as a symbolic signifier for the state of the Cypriot economic problems, as well as its history. 
The portraits are linked in the way the Cypriot people socialise and play backgammon, building and strengthening social bonds and an underlying theme concerning the Greek Orthodox Icon, considered in this religion as the real seen through a window or wormhole into the spiritual reality, and not just an image representing the particular Saint.  There is also an element of the Prometheus mythology that I have been drawn to and a relation to the Kafka poem of the same name - particularly the Second Aspect.
These paintings have been framed using reclaimed pallet wood and stained with serpentinite rock powder,  which is made from filing the rock and then using turpentine as a carrier and olive oil as a binder.  Being here forced me to change the way I work, for the better,  and there has developed an emphasis on using found objects and local natural materials which have been discarded and is becoming more prevalent in some way in my work.   This seems to have a symbolic reference to the economic downturn and our contemporary lifestyle,  as we need to shift from the throw away culture to one of reusing and reforming objects, through using skills and techniques to make do and mend, making stuff.  Maybe there is a way through our era by creating a skills based system of exchange rather than one based on the exchange of paper and metal that only serves bankers? (See South West Dorset Lets)
There is something going on with my current practice and an interesting thread seems to be developing from these various explorations I am making at this time.  More on this as I reflect and become more aware of this underlying thread.