Art Blog

a Helleno-Hibernian perspective

Posted by FAINOMENON on October 5, 2013 at 8:25 AM



My most intimate relationship within art to date has been an esoteric & erotic idolatry: a worship of the myth iconography. Mesmerised by the primitive human need for deification and mythology, while exposed to the unique notional semantics of the Greek language, I was inevitably allured by the mechanisms of visual metaphor, illusion and symbolism.

Intensely intrigued by the schizoid affair between the flawed and the perfect, attracted by the Odyssey between beauty and ugliness, virtue and sin, wisdom and innocence, I paint in a futile attempt to reconcile my own opposite extremes, merging my obsession for the old and my stubborn romance with the old-fashioned, and my excitement for the new and wide-eyed infatuation with the unknown.

My paintings are simple and intentionally simplistic, hardly illustrating the epic struggles, the ancient battles, the unsung paeans, the rare peace and the violent, occasionally blissfully orgasmic love-making between these opposing forces that underlies therein. I like to remain visually legible, attempting a dialogue that penetrates the form and engages the psyche. Any occurring surface harmony is pure accident, as my sole loyalty lies with an unashamed strife for meticulous craftsmanship and my inspiration comes from what the Greeks philosophically, if not ironically, called divine madness.

Faced with the age-old dilemma, I took what seemed to me the only truly challenging road: dive into a sea of convention and restriction at my own peril and swim, if I could, to an Ithaca of personal discovery, rather than start with a clean slate and make up the complications along the way. I was taken by a ‘dead’ artform and still am blowing my lungs out to breathe life into my Galatea, like the rock guitarist who stumbled on Apollo’s lyre, made from a tortoise shell & horse hairs – dead, but still capable of a fine tune; trying to discover the primordial notes within the instrument while strumming “Smoke On The Water” on an age-old cithara, cursed by traditionalists and avant-guardists alike but, thankfully, stone-deaf to both.

Perversely, I love the deception of simplicity, so what better medium to serve my infatuation with golden heroes and flawed geniuses, than the Icon, with its intimacy, surrealism and magic, its contrasting range from abysmal blacks to sublime golds, its ability to be a mirror for the viewer: it sprang from classic sculpture and Egyptian Hellenistic decorative art, corroded the barren Roman Imperium from within into becoming Byzantine splendour; then imploded and gracefully declined, beautifully decaying into a fragrant flower of humble, secret, ascetic & peasant craft, transcending its own origins and limits, surviving undercover in the typological western world and transforming, in our oxymoronic times, into a worn tabloid stereotype or a shy little pearl-bearing oyster, depending which lines you choose to read between…Today, when every insignificant celebrity is an Icon, when the wrapping is celebrated more than the context, and the inept, because of its ever-increasing focus on superficiality, English language is thrown open as it cannot contain the intricacy of the old design, what else could change the world than basilisks and ourovoros ophises?

Armed with ground dyes, eggs straight from the hens’ bottoms, malt vinegar, manicured miniscule brushes and fervent imaginings, I sail a Munchehousenian trireme of bashful clichés, oblivious to all the loud ground- and mould-braking, braving the winds of contemporarism with a silly head full of ancient Greek words and Gaelic pathos.

 

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