Andreas Paraskeva | Painterly Elegies
Andreas Paraskeva | "Painterly Elegies"

Andreas Paraskeva | Painterly Elegies

Andreas Paraskeva | “Painterly Elegies”

4 – 18 March 2011

A pervading blue and green sensual melancholy, an evocative, byzantine-like handling of the ochre and the golden yellow together with an endless unfolding of pinks and purples, achieve the richness of the sunset and the sunbreak spectrum in all its tones.
An infinite number of hues from the brighter and more intense to the greyest and morbid ones, signify the joyful and the sad side of things.
Andreas Paraskeva is, no doubt, a gifted and innovative colorist whose nocturnal scenes of fun-cruises, immigrant voyages of escape, weddings and birth-givings on board the river-boats in the Nile, become compelling, monumental painterly elegies, derived from a fund of inexhaustible visual imagery, acquired through his travels to Cairo.
Letting his technique and style of treatment be prompted by his intuition and the dictates of the canvas itself, he builds and deconstructs streams of memories in successive layers of oil, superimposed on top of each other. Despite the fact that he never proceeds on the basis of a pre-considered plan, he always ends up in well-considered, aesthetically balanced compositions, possessing a structural harmony, with the horizontals of the river-bank replying to the verticals and diagonals of the ferry-boats, with dashes and large, bold planes of red counteracting the decadent tranquility, imparting a light-diffusal and an energetic mobility to an ambience of breathlessness.
As his cinematographic lens brings pictorial narrative to a standstill, it focuses on infant-bearing mothers, men, women and children, standing, seated, reclining, contemplating or moving, imparting them a dramatic plasticity, in the forefront, employing an expressionistic realism with emphatic use of chiaroscuro. Detail is then relinquished for a more generous treatment of the form, at the second level, and a total dissolution of body contours and face features, at the background.
In a meditative process, Andreas Paraskeva tries to get under people’s skin, rejecting ideal beauty and searching for that bitter truth hidden beneath the surface, that feeds upon ugliness, crushing desolation, oppression, personal loneliness and social alienation. His coarse, recognizable, emblematic figure, loaded with overt and covert autobiographical hints, crops up in literally all of his works, in open or enclosed settings, as a ubiquitous, timeless and spaceless entity, at waterfront benches, boats, cafes and butcheries, amongst couples and families, next to cats, dogs, horses, birds and fish, assuming the role of the boy, who plays with his toy-windmill or the desperate girl, who craves to join the far-gone, immigrant father.
Exercising a political critique, his paintings turn rough, disquieting and prophetic, at the same time, for in their depiction of a migrating populace, seeking political refuge for a better life, they have been coincidentally precise in foretelling the recent turmoil that led to the change of status-quo in Egypt and the subsequent current outbreak of revolts in the Arab world.
Andreas Paraskeva shifts effortlessly on the verge dividing representational symbolism and surrealism, granting human limbs, arms, eyes or lips, a self- contained autonomy, whilst reminiscences of homeland haunt the touch, the vision and the taste, inscribed on notebooks and letters, sent to the loved ones who stayed behind, as a most precious deposition of the soul.
As it swallows and absorbs countless sorrows, the Nile is painted in thick, opaque textures and then in the translucent cerulean coolness, possessing the power of awakening dormant, repressed feelings and emotions, and reminding us that the substance and the constant alternation of life and death lies in water. We are, thus, urged to read the world by means of fluidity, deciphering the murmur, whispered by the rivers as they articulate their silent syllables.

Dr. Nadia Anaxagorou

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