Paintings, 13/01/1992 – 01/02/1992
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“Arts and letters.” Athenorama, 31 January – 6 February 1992, no. 799.
The water element is, for Barbara Mavrakaki, not only a source of inspiration but also the “material” with which she surrounds her creations. The huge transparent forms are the nutshell in wich a whole imaginary word grows and is protected; a world mentally conceived, not visible. The transparency of the colour works like a lens, through which the whole idea she has conceived is seen. It is an almost underwater world. An adventure of the soul crossing unknown oceans, or been enclosed in Pandora`s box, in Jona`s whale.
Barbara Mavrakaki allowes her material to guide her but not go so far as to let it “do as it pleases”. Hazard is a decisive starting point for her work, but in the process the painter interferes and finally what comes out is a common decision between hazard and artist. The works seem like “slides” of a mapped projection of the inner microcosm on the outside world. The large square frames help, thanks to the perfect form of the square, the further development of this projection. It is a very optimistic sign when real art imposes itself, against all kinds of tricks, discoveries and temporary fashion.
“In the pulse of art.” Living, Μarch, 1992.
The recent work of Barbara Mavrakaki, in the Art Gallery Medusa, once again, justifies the artist who has fruitfully – as always – revised her vision. Forms of ships, keels, boats, fishing boats, are transformed, thanks to Barbara Mavrakaki`s authentic talent, to forms and shapes of a multidimensional artistic identity. These are works that resist time; they even succeed in conveying feelings of a metaphysical substance. But, above all, what we have here is painting of a remarquable and absolutely personal expression.
“Varvara Mavrakaki at Medusa Gallery.” Sema, January-February, 1992, no. 6.
Barbara Mavrakaki had two “misfortunes”, the one after the other. The first one was that, independently of her own will, she solved – to say the least – the problem of her lifehood and the second that she did not go through the School of Fine Arts and other similar “channels”, that create presumptions of talent, either through “the old friends support system” or through writings that agree with those of the “guides”, who in the work of their students would like to see their own work. As if it weren`t true that so many great artists were self taught! The “censors” didn`t think it was enough that Barbara Mavrakaki had followed courses at the Visual Art School and at the National Academy of Design, in New York. They wanted, perhaps, to see her degree, as well, as if she was going to exercise the profession of a chemist!!
Under those circumstances she chooses to take part in the exhibition “A Glance at Contemporary Greek Art” in Dallas, Texas, together with other women artists. The alarm was set off, “censors” full of complexes revolted, they chose her together with another good woman painter – this one had a degree from the Fine Arts School – but unfortunately she was the companion of a minister of the government of the time and that was a “sin”! That gave ride to the well known argument “why them and not the others”. It was a revolution among collegues – identical to the one that took place in 1976 with the greek month in London – with no objective criterion concerning the actual quality of painting.
There were protests of the “and anyway who is she?” type, not only in artistic circles, but also from the side of the “leaders” – theoretical or not – the “fine arts policemen” as Stavropoulos puts it.
You must be wondering by now, what is the point of mentioning all this. It is because the exhibition of Barbara Mavrakaki (13th of January – 1st of February 1992), in the Medusa Art Gallery, was one of the best we have seen this period in Athens. Her painting shows an artist who asks questions on all the levels of her endevour. Both from the point of view of form and colour it was work where anybody could see her struggle and her anguish to express what she endeavours to create, her passion to put her soul in objects of her close environment, surrounded by an abyss, and all this with optimism and love. In the catalogue of the exhibition there is no theoretical text. The artist did very well-after all the afore mentioned – not to use theoretical “writing pens”; not that she was unable even to pay “in cash” for the presentation of her work.
. [No title available]. In Barbara Mavrakaki: For Odysseus. Athens: Μedusa, 1992.
Unknown voyages, viscera closed into ship`s hulls
I want to live
Deep red time
Darius and Pareissatis