Magical landscapes, houses ready to go to heaven and others flying, landscapes unlike to those existing in real life. The literary term “magical realism”, which is sometimes also used in painting, effortlessly finds its correlation in the artwork of Olga Verykaki. The painter, isolating and exploring the concepts of “home / house”, creates her own imaginary cities, the neighborhoods, their lonely houses. It seems that her concern is the creation of the city, its identity, the successive habitations that make it up over the centuries, the multiculturalism which factually and gradually comes to its life. While “building” with her painting, she often inserts in her artwork, pieces of paper that random encounters, as trimming in the artistic synthesis, as fragments of memory of a past daily routine. Βesides, these give a special hallucinatory validity in her compositions, an outstanding dreamy element. The repeated interventions in the original design lend diversity to the painting practice, originality in visual result and an unprecedented poetry. In addition, memory predominates in her artwork, together with a subconscious emotionalism, accented by contrasting cold and warm colors.
Art Critic – Author
Manousos Chalkiadakis is an accomplished ceramicist, whose work has surpassed the Greek borders, and painting is his second nature. He is one of those multi-talented people, who consider creation as a way of life and behavior.
“I started painting since my childhood, in order to deal with everything else” he usually says, implying the difficulties, which are obvious for a restless young man, when he bypasses the given road and looks for a different way of life and expression. His painting inspired by the Greek nature and mythology, the war heroes of the Greek revolution in 1821, local costumes, Saints or angels with special properties, other than those of religion, the mermaid of Alexander the Great, the dove as a self-evident meaning of peace, beloved ones who used to had or has the need to see, memories of his childhood, elements of the natural environment he lives in. The human being is discovered in the heart of his searches.
The figures, all well-designed, with huge eyes, seem to look surprised, with a childlike naivety, the odd incident of life. A trickle melancholy is distinguished in their eyes, as much as it is needed, in order to give the sense of memory and recollection. It is of great interest that the artist attempts a game of genders, in mermaids and angels, eliminating the sexless element, which is imposed by folk and religious tradition, or in some women or men, in a game of characters and roles. A reference to the current reality, which inevitably renews the theme of naive art. The stylized bodies and the hair of the figures, are distinguished with a sense of perspective, limited however, as part of Chalkiadakis’ painting expression. In addition, the outlines in figures or compositions are highlighted, an influence which originates from comics, as the artist admits.
The colors, all acrylics, inspired almost entirely of old Cretan embroidery or “Pattanies” (blankets), the colors of flowers, the nature, create a delightful atmosphere. The blue of the sky and sea, the green in nature gradations, brown, red, the earthy shades, all balance in his artworks. As for the light, it is used without restrictions and rules, ensuring a sense of vitality and a personal style.
In Manousos Chalkiadakis’ artworks dominates the imagination, the sensitivity, the sense of a dreamlike reality. Penetrating on his glance, a master in the composition, creative in the use of materials, he organizes lively painting ensembles, dictated by those psychological laws that make art a personal matter.
Manousos Chalkiadakis was born in Chania in 1948. His studies in Economics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and his professional involvement with Finance in Athens, inevitably collide with the restless artistic spirit and quickly decided to make a fresh start. Of the different things he tries (jewelry, photography, clothing, painting), pottery seem to thrill him. He was tough pottery by Christina Morali while being her assistant.
In 1987 he decides to return to Chania. Installs in Paidochori of Apokoronas, a small village in the foothills of the White Mountains, where by renovating a Venetian ruin of the 18th century, creates his studio but also one of the most impressive houses of the Cretan countryside.
In 1989 and 1990 he won the second and first prize respectively in the Panhellenic Ceramics Exhibition in Maroussi. Having been established as an artist by presenting his work in several exhibitions, he creates with his partner Nikos Graphas the “Glasses – Crystals” gallery in the commercial center of Chania. The space would quickly become a cultural center for the city. Apart from exhibitions of Greek and foreign artists, it often hosted famous singers and musicians at concerts for a limited number of viewers. The gallery now has moved and operated in Fira on the island of Santorini.
The techniques he uses are mainly two:
The “classical” technique, in which the article is first fired without the glaze at 1000 degrees and the second time, since enameled, at 1200 degrees. With this technique Manousos, using oxides of various metals (iron, cobalt, copper), he creates colors that so much characterize his works.
The second, more “personal” art is the “primitive”. In ancient times, before glazing was discovered, the pores of the clay were closed by applying friction on it with a smooth object (eg pebbles). Manousos uses this technique mainly for larger scale projects.
Baking is done on an open fire produced from sawdust or wood. The color effect, which looks like burnt wood or metal, is particularly impressive when reflected in a ceramic tree three meters tall.
Art Critic – Author