RAINING STONES: the human condition

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 Οκτώ  Eυρωπαίοι καλιτέχνες διαφορετικών εθνοτήτων, παρουσιάζουμε έργα μας στην έκθεση RAINING STONES: the human condition. Η έκθεση ανοίγει για το κοινό την Πασρασκευή 14 Ιουλίου 2017 στη γκαλερί  PIE FACTORY MARGATE κοντά στο Λονδίνο.

 Μια έκθεση που εστιάζει στις δοκιμασίες της ζωής σε  ρευστές εποχές . Περιλαμβάνει φωτογραφία, βίντεο και ζωγραφική. Μια έκθεση που προκαλεί τις αισθήσεις και την σκέψη μέσα από την συνάντηση οκτώ καλλιτεχνών από φαινομενικά διαφορετικούς κόσμους.

Συμμετέχουν:
Amel Hodzic (Βοσνία), Angela Maasalu (Eσθονία), Deborah Humm (Αγγλία), Francesco Amorosino (Ιταλία), George Strifttaris (Ελλάδα), Helga Dorothea Fannon (Σουηδία), Inge Struys (Βέλγιο) and Rich Cameron (Σκωτία)

 Η έκθεση οργανώθηκε και συντονίστηκε απ΄ τον Rich Cameron. Γνωριστήκαμε ιντερνετικά το 2011 όταν αρχίσαμε να παρακολουθούμε ο ένας την δουλειά του άλλου. Στα τέλη του 2016 ο Rich συνέλαβε και αποφάσισε την υλοποίηση αυτού του εγχειρήματος. Ταξίδεψε σε όλες αυτές τις χωρες και στην Ελλάδα, οπότε και είχα την χαρά να τον γνωρίσω κι από κοντά.  Κατά την διάρρκεια των συναντήσεών μας, με κέρδισε με την οργανωτικότητά του, την γλυκύτητά του, την πραότητά του, την εντιμότητά του. Ένιωσα την ομορφιά της συνεύρεσης μεταξύ καλιτεχνών με κοινούς στόχους και όνειρα, και τον ευχαριστώ πολύ γι αυτό. Πολύτιμη βεβαίως και η μεταφραστική βοήθεια της καλής μου φίλης Εύας.

 Προσκαλώ όσους από εσάς θα είσαστε κοντά, να επισκεφτείτε την έκθεση και θα χαρώ να ακούσω, ή να διαβασω τις εντυπώσεις σας.

 Ακολουθεί κείμενο στα αγγλικά, του Henry Miller ιδρυτή του Henry Miller Fine Art όπως εμφανίζεται στο σχετικό δελτιο τύπου.

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Eight of us, European artists of various ethnicities, will present our work at the “RAINING STONES: the human condition” exhibition which opens to the public on Friday, July 14th, at the PIE FACTORY MARGATE gallery in Kent, a stone’s throw from London. 

The exhibition focuses on Life’s trials and tribulations at times of upheaval and comprises photographs, videos and paintings: a challenging endeavor, both provocative and thought-inducing, that brings together the viewpoints of eight artists hailing from very diverse backgrounds.  

The artists are:
Amel Hodzic (Bosnia), Angela Maasalu (Estonia), Deborah Humm (England), Francesco Amorosino (Italy), George Strifttaris (Greece), Helga Dorothea Fannon (Sweden), Inge Struys (Belgium) and Rich Cameron (Scotland)

The exhibition was organized and coordinated by Rich Cameron. Rich and I started out as internet acquaintances in 2011, when we each started observing and following the other’s work, until the time came in late 2016 when he conceived and started to realize this project. He traveled to all these countries and to Greece too. That’s when I had the pleasure of finally meeting with him in person in a series of encounters, during which I was won over by his gentleness, his gift for structure and organization, his affability and his honesty. With him, I felt the beauty of the coming together of artists who share common goals and dreams, and for this I am in his debt. Another thank you goes to my dear friend Eva, who helped us overcome the language barrier and facilitated our communication. 

I invite those of you who are in the greater vicinity to visit the exhibition and I’ll be glad to hear or read of your views of it. 

The text that follows, serves as press release and embodies the artistic approach of Henry Miller, founder of Henry Miller Fine Art.

 

 


 

Introduction 

 

When asked by his biographer, Keith Vaughan remarked that his life could be summed up in one sentence; “I spent my life looking for myself”. The post-war neo-Romantic British painter, although highly successful in his lifetime, was beset with self-doubt and insecurities undoubtedly triggered by society’s condemnation of his homosexuality. He repeatedly placed figures within landscapes, an obvious metaphor for placing himself within a world that did not accept him - creating in paint a beauty and serenity he was unable to create in his personal life.

Such self-examination and the search for meaning and identity has been a constant theme in Western art since the late 19th century. For Edvard Munch, his art was "the study of the soul, that is to say the study of my own self”. Ernst Kirchner and Otto Dix, amongst others, found meaning and expression through their experiences of war. Stanley Spencer examined the complexity of his personal and sexual relationships. The list goes on. It is a thread that joins artists across the generations, all expressing their own perspective on the world in which they live, but bound by the common need to make sense of the world and their place within it. 

The collaborative exhibition ‘Raining Stones’ continues the search for meaning and identity but within the contemporary world; both by drawing on the personal life of the artists and interpreting and commenting on the world through the experiences of their subjects.

This search for meaning and identity starts in a very dark place. As a reminder of the ever-present possibility of a descent into chaos, the Bosnian artist, Amel Hodžić, searches for meaning from within a country that was torn apart by crimes against humanity and depravity beyond imagination. In what he calls ‘The Triumph of Human Stupidity’, Hodžić creates tortured images, alerting the viewer to the cruelty of man whilst celebrating and remembering the dignity of the victims. His works are at first glance quite disturbing, but are a poignant commentary on the darker truths of humanity and the potential unbelievable cruelty of man. 

Angela Maasalu, in a further exploration of the human condition, examines the commodification of life within the capitalist world. Her stark, vivid images convey the loneliness of the modern world, with the individual constantly fluctuating between hope and despair. Through the prism of her unique perceptions, Massalu visualises magical narratives, something that she believes is lacking in contemporary society.

In what is quintessentially “study of the self”, Deborah Humm’s audio-visual piece draws on disturbances and difficulties associated with her multiple sclerosis. Humm’s work beautifully expresses the difficulties caused by her condition, and confidently conveys the everydayness of her experience of the world. She grants the viewer a unique opportunity to glimpse into a different reality.

Moving from the personal to the political, Francesco Amorosino provides an Italian commentary on the plight of Greece in recent years. Produced at a time when the European Union was contemplating removing Greece from its members, his work highlights the centrality of Greece to the development of the European continent by juxtaposing Greek mythology with the financial symbols of the EU. Images of youth are overlaid with economic data, emphasising their humanity often forgotten in the political world.

Staying with Greece, George Straftaris‘ hauntingly beautiful male portraits, wonderfully capture the experience of life in modern Athens. Men are marooned amongst the detritus of industry abandoned in the economic collapse, unable to change or shape their own futures. The fragile nature of the human experience is contrasted against the harshness of economic forces, and even domesticity seems to offer no respite from the desperate nature of their plight.

Drawing on her family life, in a return to personal observations, Helga Fannon’s ‘Forgotten Reflections’ is a series of ink paintings made to celebrate the life of her grandmother, whilst marking the older woman’s descent into dementia. Nostalgic themes and family portraits, part figurative part abstract, reflect her grandmother’s memories, gradually decaying over time. Deeply moving, one gets the sense that the paintings themselves will continue to decay, mirroring the decline of her grandmother’s memory.

Also drawing on entirely personal experiences for her work, Inge Struys’ work shifts focus once more, providing her perspective in the quest for identity and meaning. Following the separation from her partner, at a time when her child has ceased to be dependent on her, Struys’ work reflects her personal evolution of recent years. Informed by her changing physical environment on the fringes of Antwerp, Struys is searching for answers in these uncertain times. Envy and tenderness are just two themes that permeate these intensely personal reflections on her life and work. 

Modern Athens is once again the setting for the final artist in the collection. Richard Gale creates intimate portraits of young men, whose futures have been cast adrift in uncertain times. Like many of their generation, irrespective of their education or capabilities, they are resigned to getting work where they can, unable to fulfil destinies which their youth had promised them. One of these men, a Syrian refugee, has lost more than most, acutely aware that in his plight his personal identity has become irrelevant. He is simply one of the millions unwanted in Europe, trying to cope within a country which itself is struggling for economic survival.

Raining Stones is a thoughtful and thought-provoking exhibition that draws together seemingly disparate themes, to collectively reveal an intensely personal and political commentary on the modern world. Showing the works together enables the viewer to gain a greater understanding of the diverse humanity that surrounds us, shaping our everyday existence. By observing and experiencing the lives of others, perhaps, just perhaps, we will be better placed to understand those who live amongst us. 

 

Henry Miller

Founder, Henry Miller Fine Art

June 2017