The ancient Greeks painted on their sculptures, in the same way Greek-Australian artist Efrossini Chaniotis has always painted on hers.
THE PAINTED SCULPTURE is the artist’s first exhibition devoted solely to her unique 3D artworks
Having studied sculpture in Australia and painting in Greece, Efrossini’s practice naturally combined both. Her vibrant colour palette is reflective of growing up ‘down under’ and her propensity for storytelling, myth and exploration of Mediterranean themes, the indelible imprint of a rich cultural heritage.
The Painted Sculpture features figurative mixed media works which Efrossini describes evocatively as representing the meeting of Hellenism and Australianism. “My sculptures represent a creative journey through a landscape of migration, cross-cultural education, and artistic identity. In Australia, I learnt to think laterally to develop concepts behind my art and experiment, free from the authority that tradition bares. In Greece, I was taught discipline and to embrace art history and to seek beauty which inspired me to believe in the power of art”
The PAINTED SCULPTURE showcases 3 themes current in Efrossini’s work: The Wishing Tree, The Fisherman and Mermaid’s Tale and The Little Mykonos Project. All 3 explore the capacity for art to generate and tell spirited stories. All three aspire to evoke emotion and wonder in an adult audience and all merge the colour and compositional elements inherent in the painting medium with the figurative, sculptural form.
The influences in her work are drawn from childhood experiences of storytelling, modern art and her Hellenic background. Her execution and themes are in her own admission: “wholly person centred, perhaps romantic and idealized”. As a Greek-Australian and as a sculptor and painter, her work deals with bringing opposites together. Efrossini is compelled to and delights in, discovering ways of creating harmony between things; a purpose ingrained in her from a young age.
This project is my response to the COVID19 Stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne, originally announced for 42 days in August 2020. Melbournians were limited to travel within a 5km radius and only allowed to leave home for four reasons: one hour of exercise; shopping for essential items; authorised study or work; and care or caregiving. An 8 pm to 5 am curfew was also imposed.
This self-directed project focused my time and energy and helped me to remain productive during the lockdown. I created 42 ceramic boats – one for each day of the lockdown.
After stage four restrictions were relaxed I was also able to photograph the boats outside the 5km radius from my home. I photographed them in different environments and shared them across the globe digitally on Instagram.
I couldn’t leave Australia, but my boats could. The movement was restricted but not imagination.
I contacted a number of artists and asked if they would be interested in collaborating with me; photographing the boats in new locations. With their help these little ceramic boats made it out of Victoria and travelled across the world, connecting us in solidarity against a pandemic at its height. They were photographed in new environments in Western Australia and across Europe and America.
It is important to me that art is enjoyable, and so I gave very few instructions, encouraging my collaborators to play with the project. This took courage and trust, but their subtly differing perspectives on the theme ultimately produced more diverse work.
Not all of the nine women I collaborated with for the interstate and international element of this project identified as visual artists. Among them were an architect, a curator and an engineer. Together we made art as these women brought their own experiences and creativity to the work.
By using social media to exhibit these images, I’ve been able to reach audiences that might not have attended a physical exhibition. These audiences have been able to engage with the project over several months, following the boats as they left Melbourne, Victoria, and finally Australia. Many of the locations used in the installations are recognisable environments, providing a sense of familiarity, connection and inclusion in the work.
Like the crude and fragile stitches on the sides of each boat, the pandemic has forced many of us to patch, mend, and forge new paths. For artists like myself, that meant rethinking our practice, being innovative in our methods and finding new ways to engage with our audiences. By doing part of this project as a durational and digital work, I was able to continue exploring travel and migration through a global pandemic. I have compiled a number of the images into the book and intend to physically exhibit the ceramic boats, book and photographs together.
Beatrice Magalotti 2022
Beatrice is a contemporary Australian sculptor whose work engages with a range of themes including mythology (particularly Norse and Greek) and migration.
For the last three years, Beatrice has been examining themes of migration, journey and travel in her practice. The theme is inspired by contemporary events as well as more personal family histories. Her parents, like so many Europeans, in the aftermath of the Second World War, migrated to Australia. Traveling by boat, their journey took almost two months.
Beatrice’s work explores the commonalities of the migrant experience: excitement, uncertainty and vulnerability. Her work is informed by her experience as a woman. Travel and life journeys are poetically evoked rather than described. The artist seeks to create a space for reflective and introspective dialogues, rather than simply engaging with clichéd narratives of migration (notably spectacular media images of suffering individuals and groups). The outcome of this reflection are the bronze sculptures.
Beatrice also uses embroidery and needlework in her work. Traces of stitching and details of textures of fabrics – traditional female responsibilities – are visible on her bronzes and ceramics. The delicate gestures of hand-crafting soft and ephemeral materials (fibre and fabric) are by a series of processes (moulding, casting, and patination) changed into hard and permanent materials (bronze and ceramics).
Her work is far broader that any specific migrant situation – it is about the human condition of most of the Australian population, and a global condition that crosses the centuries, a response to food scarcity, war and economic opportunities.
Recently, Beatrice has engaged in a number of collaborative works.
In 42 Days, 42 Boats, 42 Installations, Beatrice led a collaborative response to the pandemic. It playfully circumvents our lack of global mobility by offering unexpected and serendipitous vistas and creative narratives. The photographic project celebrates the spectacular and the quotidian as the boats navigate familiar, local and exotic, distant horizons.
Susan and I met and became friends in early 2016 while studying painting with David Moore at Montsalvat and continue to paint the figure together at Hawthorn Artists’ Society.
We both share a love of observational painting using our everyday visual experiences as the basis for what we paint. We also share the view that it is through the act of observational painting, and the process of looking very deeply, that visual poetry is revealed.
Looking Deeply: Still Life and Other Paintings is an exhibition of what we have been painting over the last few years. Susan has been concentrating on still life paintings while I have been increasingly focused on the landscape near where I live in Box Hill north.
The exhibition will also include a range of my works on paper including paintings of the figure and transcriptions of master paintings completed during our long covid lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.
Jane-Frances Tannock – June 2022
81 Denmark St, Kew VIC 3101
Tuesday – Friday 12 – 6 pm
Saturday 11 – 6 pm or 3 pm on last weekend for de-install
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings by appointment
PAINT AND SIP
(03) 9852 8772
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