Press release from the exhibition "Outskirts" with The Contemporary London, 2015:
The Contemporary London is proud to present Outskirts, our second solo exhibition of exceptional oil paintings on wood and canvas by Vasilis Avramidis. Through the prism of painting, art history and memory, Avramidis’ Outskirts is an intricate and intimate exploration and elevation of neglected and dislocated architectural elements, nature and the quotidian. Following the critical acclaim of his previous solo sell-out show, Avramidis’ Outskirts is a demonstration of the power of beautiful and exceptional painting to transform quotidian architecture and nature to an engaging and engulfing visual escapism.
Art history fills our visual memory with powerful imagery that competes with and many times transcends nature itself. For example, the idealization of the image in Renaissance art, the dramatic and theatrical atmosphere of 16-17th century oil painting, the sublime and emblematic character of minimalist art and architecture, and the unexpected compositions of expressionism all build on the banality of the overlooked and transform these flattened landscapes to another context distinct from their original condition and in dialogue with the medium and history of painting.
Building on this tradition, Avramidis’ beautiful, familiar but dreamily impossible vistas are modern day landscapes exploring the fragmented and isolated nature of memory and belonging. Bathed in deep rich colours and interplays of light and shadow Avramidis’ marginalised private worlds are transformed into soft and intricate textures of natural cascading landscapes and erect beacons of man made structures juxtaposed and enveloped within them.
While referencing historical art practices, Avramidis’ oil paintings are an unusual form of escapism from visual experiences of the everyday contemporary notion of landscape. Avramidis’ landscapes locate themselves in the outskirts, like neglected territories in former tourist regions or dormant semi-industrial zones located outside a city. Although apparently impossible, the landscapes are not completely surreal but are governed by basic natural and visual laws such as gravity, cohesion or perspective. The works detail the random, unplanned and uninspired. However, elements within the paintings exist in the outer regions of our memory and speak about themselves, as well as the unpredictable processes of art itself. Consequently, as opposed to alienating you from the unexpected beauty these structures embody, when seen through the process of Avramidis’ painting, they create a form of escapism that draws and engulfs you in the visual experiences of the Outskirts.
Press release from the exhibition "Resort Archaeology" with The Contemporary London, 2014:
Resort Archaeology is a series of new oil paintings by Vasilis Avramidis, which experiment with concepts surrounding the history of painting, the human mark and the passing of time.
Avramidis’ world of intensely detailed, atmospheric, surreal oil paintings skillfully and delicately depicts uncanny private worlds, idealized images from the past and decadent earthly paradises. Where ‘place’ is usually established by the presence of humanity Avramidis’ paintings are marked by human absence. Instead his ‘resorts’ feature architectural fragments in disrepair rooted in the infinity of overgrown diachronic landscapes. Avramidis’ imagery of ‘non-place’ contemplate ideas of humanity, loss and time. Conceptually and literally the works are located between a vanitas concept, echoing the human effort to reason with the finitude and mortalisation of time.
By indulging us with images and rich palettes that tantalize the imagination, we celebrate images of opulence, fantasy, transience, the remote and beautiful, and a struggle for the ideal through the passing of time. These works transport and transcend, creating an uncanny window of escapism through which to contemplate human histories.
Press release from the exhibition "Caretakers" at Jacob's Island gallery, 2012:
"...The exhibition comprises of a series of oil paintings depicting a set of self-invented locations and scenarios that shift the sense of scale within the traditions of landscape and still life.
Within the setting of his captured vistas Avramidis typically paints an arrangement of symbolic motifs, rendered in a way to be suggestive of neglect. These depicted scenes and objects are overgrown with moss and ivy, alluding to an overriding sense of decay that the paintings’ inhabitants desire to control and maintain. These characters are gardeners, keepers of sites, land and buildings. They are the caretakers.
The paintings express a repetition of varying hues of green, a reference to the duality between sickness and growth and how the land eventually reclaims everything that sits upon it. Objects being imbued with foliage confirm these concepts of the ongoing and endless conflict between the forces of destruction and the forces of philosophical cultivation. This force of nature against man-made structures and ideologies not only conveys a relentless struggle but also comments on the history of art and architecture being overwritten and unearthed with the passing of time.
Avramidis draws inspiration from gardens that are both real and imaginary, his references vary from the far away reality of Gilgamesh’s Garden of the Gods to the gothic Highgate Cemetery. The paintings’ subject matter, their very conception and the marks they bear of human care and cultivation refer to how gardens stand as restorative, nourishing and necessary havens. In many ways the paintings pictorial space conveys a wide-ranging examination of how gardens evoke the human condition.
The growth of the garden camouflages the structure of the objects and subject matter within the paintings and serve as a check against the destruction and loss of history. His paintings investigate the ways in which the concept and reality of the garden has informed human thinking about mortality, order, and power."