Review / Christofides gives depth to abstract art

art / “Reason and Intuition” by Andrew Christofides, Nancy Sever Gallery, Gorman Arts Centre, until August 19. Reviewed by JOHN LANDT

‘View’ by Andrew Christofides.

ANDREW Christofides is a painter’s painter. The high quality, freshness and serious intent of his work is immediately evident.  

His paintings have a warmth and luminosity welcome on a cold Canberra day.

He was born in Cyprus and grew up in Wollongong and Sydney, before pursuing his artistic studies in London in the 1960s and 1970s. He returned to Sydney in 1982, and has since been a successful exhibiting artist and the head of drawing at the College of Fine Arts, at the University of New South Wales.

‘Small Piazza’ by Andrew Christofides

Early in his career he dived deeply into the essential principles of the pioneering abstract artists, such as Kasimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee, as well as drawing inspiration and formal principles from the Early Renaissance artists, such as Piero della Francesca.

More recently, he has drawn inspiration from the artistic heritage of his homeland Cyprus, and intuition has come to play a greater role in his art practice. This has given added depth and life to the geometric and numerical organisational principles that underpin the grids and map-like arrangements of his work.    

His use of translucent glazes are reminiscent of the icon paintings and ceramic tiles of his homeland, and they accentuate the warm colours of the rectangular and oval forms he juxtaposes in his paintings. The luminous presence of his glazed paintings is remarkable.

Another notable quality of Christofides’ work is its sense of space and time, of gaps and silences. He acknowledges the important influences of the seventeenth century Dutch artist Jan Vermeer and of musical composition in the making of his paintings.

This exhibition is in many respects similar to the recent Canberra exhibition of works by Hilarie Mais at the Drill Hall Gallery. Both are highly accomplished artists, and both are finding that abstract art offers the scope to make highly personal statements responding to events in their lives. 

 

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