Minor Narratives - A shoe-tree narrates....


by Chrysoula Xouveroudi

Art Historian

Quiet recently George Eliades, a painter who lives and works in Thessaloniki, Greece has been introduced to the art audience as a promising contemporary artist.

shoe-tree, wooden shoe, painting, decoration

shoe-tree, shoetree, wooden shoe, painting, shoe last painting, shoe last decoration, shoe last

His last artistic statement gives us the opportunity to get in touch once more with the inner ‘mystery’ of art, which constantly seeks to escape from conventional aesthetic judgements deriving from established curators, cultural institutions and movements.

In his case painting embodies the artist’s will to interpret the world by juxtaposing lines and colours, diminishing light, directing the ‘whole’ and ‘the void’ for the sake of artistic revelation. However, this representation unfolds on a surface, beyond the stereotypes and the omnipotence of the canvas, which was previously characterized by another use. The wooden shoe last becomes in this case the vehicle of pictorial expression as it leaves space for empirical narration. The artist eagers to capture the energy of a live material, namely wood, as well as the existential dimension of time by engaging individual with collective memory.

shoe tree. shoe last, wooden shoe, painting, drawing, decoration

shoetree, shoe-tree, shoe last, last, wooden last, painting,

Since the 1980’s into the highly fluid atmosphere of postmodernism, the ‘Zeitgeist’-the spirit of our times, seems to favour summarizing (a synopsis) and retrospection. Since Modernism’s frantic expectations of continual innovation, a return has been aspired to the reservoir of culture, to nature, to everyday life, to all those things avant-gardes were opposed to. On the other hand, the two-dimensional surface, which since the Renaissance dominated pictorial space, opening thus -according to Alberti- a window to the world on illusory terms and heightening the relationship between ‘res’ (thing) and reality, has been challenged throughout the 20th century.

shoetree painting, shoe last painting, painting on a shoe tree, paingin on a shoe last

A new visual reality is pushed now in order to register space and time as key-role features in human experience. In that way, the shoe-tree by being a three-dimensional object is outstanding and sets off its plasticity as a reminiscent of the process of its original construction. At the same time, it finally fosters the feeling of familiarity with the viewer. Furthermore, this challenge operates in a bidirectional way as long as the shoe-tree with its curvature, the limited space left for painting, as well as its own identity, stimulates on one hand inspiration and on the other requires the artist’s mental alertness. Being an object that ‘acts autonomously’ in its own space-time, playing its own role and bringing out a special relationship with people, the shoe-tree is disguised the ‘artistic mantle’ in order to reveal pictorial and tactile values.

shoe tree, shoe last, painting, painting on a shoe tree

According to the above, the modernistic vocabulary continues to maintain its timeliness. The postmodern artist does not ignore the modernistic echo, but realizes it through a variant light in its mature expression rather than its revolutionary birth. In the aftermath of August Strindberg’s trenchant remark that “on a thin layer of reality imagination weaves new designs”, Eliades narrates stories that first of all appeal to him and can easily be read by the viewer. Sometimes these are intended for he appeals to more active viewers, who have an inclination and wish to interpret a personal and intimate world that surpasses reality. The symbols are signified by their creator, who artificially uses the particular features of the pictorial surface in order to induce the initiate to a more thorough approach of the work and stir up the dialogue between the two of them as well as with the artwork itself.

shoe tree, shoe last, shoetree, painting, decoration,

shoe tree, shoe last, painting, decoration

The line vibrates following the curve of the surface, while colour and texture co-operate to support the form. The tone deepens to strengthen the existential persistence of time, the texture evokes the touch and the form, vivid and meaningful, enables -with the aid of light- composition. In this composition, characterized mainly by parataxis, he exploits the horizontal axis, thus reinforcing the style of his narration through the dialogue between the “whole” and the “void”. By allowing skillfully the ‘void' to lead the eye and the imagination into infinity, the representation is defined by the object and at the same time goes beyond it, as it conceals and reveals the pictorial surface. Sometimes, the connection to the original concept is immediate and the artist, bearing in mind trompe l’oeil and making good use of wood cracks, deceives our view so as to convince us that this is a real worn-out shoe. Realism and its surpassing occupy him generally in his artistic course and recur with the same impetus in all his latest work.

Nostos (homecoming), the return to a personal homeland with visions, images and traces gleaned from the legacy of both individual and collective memories, defines Eliades’ creation. Whether as a standalone object or as a co-star in a new artistic proposal (lamps are a separate group in his latest work), the shoe-trees revive their relationship with the current art audience and become ambassadors of a wounded, but not lost, innocence.

wooden show last, painting, wood painting, Wooden shoe last painting

 wooden shoe last, painting, wood painting

decorative painting, wood painting

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