Monday, February 7, 2011

Launch of Tales of Love & Reason: the Lioness Constellation by Efrossini Chaniotis

Starlight Reunion, mixed media on canvas.  One of the works on show!
If you missed the wonderful launch of Tales of Love and Reason: the Lioness Constellation by Efrossini Chaniotis las Thursday then you can check out an edited version of the opening speech by curator Mardi Nowak.

Don't forget that you can join the curator and artist Efi Chaniotis on Saturday 19 February from 2pm to 3pm to hear more about the works.

"Welcome to the official launch of Tales of Love and Reason: the Lioness Constellation by Efi Chaniotis.
For any artist, it is a huge achievement to produce works for a solo exhibition and I'm sure you will join me in congratulating efi on creating such a beautiful and engaging exhibition for her first solo show, here at Town Hall Gallery.

It also can be an incredibly daunting act for an artist to produce a solo exhibition! Each work is produced lovingly and with such passion and emotion, that what is put onto the gallery walls is an extension of the artists being. Here we can see little fragments of Efi around us and as artists we can be a little scared to see and hear what people have to say about the works.

I think Efi can rest assured that everything that she has given us in this exhibition has been incredibly well received - definitely by the red sold stickers around! And really I think that is one of the biggest compliments an artist can have is unknown people buying your work and allowing it to live with them in their homes.

When Efi asked me to officially launch the exhibition I was quite taken back. As curator I'm often opening exhibitions but when an artist specifically asks you to do it, it can become difficult too as they often expect the curator to give some amazing insight into the works and how they sit within the larger visual arts world. And as a curator I also strongly believe that the sign of a great artist is that their works stand alone. They each individually speak to the viewer without having to say too much within a label or a description from a stuff academic curator.

Tales of Love and Reason opening night 016
Visitors at the launch of Tales of Love and Reason:  The Lioness Constellation, taking a good look at the works!

But as a curator, where do I think these works sit within the artworld? Well I can say that I think that Efi is a bit of a rebel within the art world. Bit of a girl after my own heart! Don't get me wrong, she has trained extensively both here and also in Greece and has a solid background in the history of art and also symbolism, which you can see within these works around us. But why I think she is a bit of a rebel is she is an artist who is incredibly true to her practice.

She follows her intuition to create beauty and to tell us viewers all kinds of tales. Her work is fun and playful, something that often the serious contemporary art world looks down upon but what they often forget is that viewers react to this, we want to be playful and be taken on a journey.

Efi also seems to embrace a globalism of art and design. It's been fascinating to see and hear what influences people see within the works. From medieval, Indonesian, South American and naturally Greek. The works embrace global influences but are still intrinsically Efi.

Efi's works also rebel against the notion of what a painting is. She uses fragments of fabric and paper within her patterned canvases combined with traditional paint - but then the painting jumps right off the canvas with the creation of her 3 dimensional canvases - the soft sculptures around the gallery. I know that when the sculptures came in to be installed, I kept referring to them as 'dolls' mostly because they are human representations but in reality they are 3 dimensional paintings. She has created a soft, stuffed canvas to create the characters that we see within her works. That definitely is the rebel in Efi, taking those characters out of the canvas and giving them their own world within the gallery !

On a personal note, it has been a pleasure to get to know Efi and work with her on this exhibition. It really is one of the best parts of my job is seeing each artists idea and expression come to fruition within the gallery and then to see you the audience admire and love the works so much. So thank you Efi for being part of the Town Hall Gallery program here!

Now, I'm sure many of you will have come up with your own ideas about the Lions and the characters within these works and what they all mean and what they are doing and that is what you the viewer are meant to do. But if you would like to find out more about the inspiration behind the works and what inspires Efi, then you should come along to our IN CONVERSATION program on Saturday 19th February at 2pm, where you can hear me ask Efi all the burning questions about the work!

I'd also like to take this brief moment to thank our sponsors Swords select for the wines you are enjoying tonight and also our amazing team of volunteers who work tirelessly here at the gallery. We very much appreciate your assistance and smiley faces!

So thank you for coming along to celebrate the launch of Tales of Love and Reason: the lioness constellation and we look forward to seeing you again here at Town Hall Gallery."

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