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In at the deep end of light water March 30, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Arts Exhibitions Cyprus.
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In Cyprus four Paphos-based British artists exhibit works that centre around the theme of water.

The state of art today is such that it can now be created by amateurs with virtually no study, preparation or training. In galleries and exhibition spaces, the amateur aesthete can now compete on equal terms with the masters.

Paphos, in particular, has experienced a full-on amateur take over and with so many new artists now resident there all busy making so much art in so many different ways, no one can possibly make sense of it all. It seems every village has its own art gallery, though few, if any, display much in the way of art that you could stand to look at for long, nothing displayed is made to sustain you, and rarely are you seduced with work that is turbulent, elusive, bold, exhilarating or recklessly new. This is indeed the land of the bland.

The latest exhibition to hit the Paphos scene is a collection of art that will hopefully draw a clear line between the professional and amateur status. A Paphos-based British quartet have recently created a form of watery symbiosis, as artists Keith Walker, Mary Lynne Stadler, Raymond Wilson and Elizabeth Walker launch an exhibition that takes the theme of water and light. Water has no colour of its own so provides the chance for these artists to express an interesting range of emotions. Also water has no form so it’s a technical challenge to describe a convincing physical depth, there’s no gravity, which makes for unique underwater poses by the models just because of their weightlessness.

Retired art teacher Keith Walker was the one who set things in motion when, in 2007, he was loaned an underwater digital camera, making it possible for him to at long last capture the play of sunlight through seawater onto the human body. He then translated these underwater photographic images onto canvas, superimposing layers of thin glazes using a mix of acrylic and oils. His work does indeed evoke the wonderful, ever changing dappled sunlight as it swirls and ripples across the surface of the sea onto the contours of submerged swimmers. At the same time he manages to reflect the wonderful feeling of utter weightlessness experienced by the human form when immersed in our clear blue waters. “I had been trying for years to capture this imagery on camera but it’s only since I acquired a digital camera I was able to freeze that moment and get that wonderful balance of pattern, light and shadow and then use paint to recreate my own visual interpretation,” he said.

Raymond and Elizabeth Walker also acted as the underwater photographic models, and it is Raymond’s paintings and interpretations of life under the surface of the water which may prove to be the most unusual, with his work hopefully leaving a lingering thought or two when you exit the venue. He consistently uses a more narrative feel, visual short stories with an underlying psychological tension and the odd hint of psycho sexual nightmares.

Elizabeth uses the medium of photography and the images look eerily akin to a series of preliminary Henry Moore sketches, and I would strongly urge any innovative owners of a night club or cafe bar to swiftly snap up her evocative images then blow them up to use as stunning pieces of photographic wall art.

Mary Lynne Stadler is a talented lithographer and painter. Here she delves deep into a sort of mythological sea world, her vibrant palette fairly pushing the idea that underneath those sun-kissed waves lays a glorious, secret fantasy world.

Those trotting down to the Kyklos Gallery won’t be overly confused, won’t feel stupid, or intimidated by the art on show, it’s as honest as it can be and the four artists presenting their work genuinely believe in what they are doing. After all, who really knows what is or not serious art, what will or will not be taken seriously one day.

Light Water > Exhibition by four artists Keith Walker, Mary Lynne Stadler, Raymond Wilson and Elizabeth Walker. April 5 to 18. Kyklos Gallery, 6 Minoos Street, Kato Paphos, tel 26 936 681. 10am-1pm 4pm-7pm. Closed Saturday pm and Sunday. 

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