Gary Smith & Elefteria Vlavianos
22 April – 6 May
This is a two handed exhibition, a visual conversation, between the two artists.
The paintings of quiet, intense beauty are intra hung and evolve from an informal exchange of ideas and the artists’ responses to both personal histories and art history. These works and artists are ‘contemporary’ but tradition is the key to their art.
The artists are both graduates of the Australian National University School of Art and since art school have continued the ‘conversations’ begun as students. Their visual conversations explore the possibilities of reductive painting and the relationship between expansiveness and intimacy and connections to place, culture and identity.
Gary Smith’s explorations of fragments from the skies of nineteenth century romantic landscapes. He is interested in eighteenth and nineteenth century Western landscape painting and its relationship to
Japanese scroll painting. His evocations of ‘atmospheres’ from the works of Turner and Constable and their ilk are transposed utilising their old master techniques of thinning and glazing but writ large as pure painting in Smith’s works. These works that have an Oriental ‘sensibility’ and stillness are sites of rest among the turbulent histories implicit in Vlavianos’s work
Eleftaria Vlavianos weaves landscapes from layer upon layer of early Armenian script. Eleftaria Vlavianos was born in Zimbabwe of Greek and Armenian heritage and subsequently lived in South Africa and now Australia. The text in her paintings details the place names of sites of Armenian massacre that no longer exist today. The overlaid and cross-hatched script in her canvases suggests the intricate narrative imbedded in rugs and lace and quilts and the stories and patterns of daily life laid down over centuries. The patterns and experience of migration are central to her art and the unreadable connections that bind family, place and culture over distance and time.