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MAGIC CARPET RIDE San Francisco Bay Area Sculptors Meet Athenian Sculptors

September 22 - October 17, 2015

ekfrasi–yianna grammatopoulou gallery 9a Valaoritou str. 10671, Athens, Greece Tel. +30 210 3607598 Fax +30 210 3707546 -

EXHIBITION An international collaboration between

The San Francisco Bay Area


ekfrasi–yianna grammatopoulou gallery

THE VIEW FROM ATHENS The matter of the journey is common to all... You always have a single purpose. Meeting with the miracle that beyond all suffering and annihilation of the private scheme, allows you to see eternity from the other side, like Columbus saw the hurricane on the island of Trinidad... It is only in the face of this aspect that one gets to know oneself and you can say one’s name.

N.G. Pentzikis

There are two ways to attempt a journey.

The first one is to take note of all the attractions and important destinations and study them thoroughly. The second is Kerouac’s beat way, to let the road take you, to get straight into the car, ship, boat, airplane.

“Let me come with you a little farther down, as far as the brickyard wall, to the point where the road turns and the city appears concrete and airy, whitewashed with moonlight, so indifferent and insubstantial so positive, like metaphysics, that finally you can believe you exist and do not exist, that you never existed, that time with its destruction never existed. Let me come with you.” (1)

In both cases what is meant to happen will happen. The trip will be different from what you expected. The unexpected will invade even the neatest notebook.

“I like to dream yes, yes, right between my sound machine On a cloud of sound I drift in the night Any place it goes is right Goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here.” (2)

Whatever way one travels, let’s focus on the meeting. This exhibition functions as a journey, the journey as an exhibition.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” (3)

17 traveling California artists 12 local Athenian artists

They sit at the same table and the works of art function as a language, which reveals their common ground, their common codes: Memory, the body, the sacred, mourning, the symbol, the signifier, the signified, the I, the you. Eros and Thanatos. Love and Death.

I imagine the dialogues between them.

“-If only love had arrows!... had snares... had fires... With his arrows to pierce the windows... to warm hearts... to set his snares upon the snow...” (4) “There is no one whose love is perfect.“ (5)

“I know that each one of us travels to love alone, alone to faith and to death.” (6)

The main motif, the motivation behind this idea was the ride, the voyage, the meeting, the challenge for people from different cultures to communicate. By exhibiting the thoughts of the hands, we observe the common fate of man. This exhibition serves as an archive of notes from the meeting of different civilizations, cultures and languages.

“We’ll sit for a little on the low wall, up on the hill, and as the spring breeze blows around us perhaps we’ll even imagine that we are flying.” (7) “Well, you don’t know what we can find Why don’t you come with me little girl On a magic carpet ride You don’t know what we can see Why don’t you tell your dreams to me.” (8)

Μaria Κarachristou Athens

(1) p. 9, Yiannis Ritsos, Moonlight Sonata, Kedros Publications, March 2002 [in Greek] (2) (3) p. 271, Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Greek translation by Dimitra Nikolopoulou, Plethron Publications, October 1996 (4) p.18 , Alexandros Papadiamantis, transl. J.Coggin and Z.Lorenzatos, Domos Publications, 1993 (5) p. 163, Αllen Ginsberg, Howl, Kaddish and other poems, Greek translation by Aris Berlis, Agra Publications, May 2008 (6) p.10, Yiannis Ritsos, Moonlight Sonata, Kedros Publications, March 2002 (7) p.10, Yiannis Ritsos, Moonlight Sonata, Kedros Publications, March 2002 (8)

CURATOR Pacific Rim Sculptors Group

Sculpture by its nature is metamorphic: the sculptor transforms organic matter such as stone, wood, clay, bronze into objects of symbolic meaning. Largely communal in most cultures, a work of sculpture became increasingly an individual endeavor since the Renaissance. In his book on Rodin, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote that sculpture “had to distinguish itself from other things, the ordinary things which everyone could touch. It had to become unimpeachable, sacrosanct, separated from chance and time, through which it rose isolated and miraculous.� Rarely has this been achieved, but modern sculpture has had its heroic innovators: Rodin, Brancusi, Gonzalez, Picasso, Lipchitz, Giacometti, Calder, Chillida, David Smith, stand out. It is difficult to find sculptors of this stature now. This is a period signaled by confusion. The old definitions no longer hold. In the 18th century the German dramatist and philosopher G.E. Lessing pronounced the distinction between the plastic arts which exist in space and the temporal arts which develop in time. But the kinetic sculptor employs time just as the painter works with color. Traditionally the visual arts consisted of painting, sculpture and drawing. Now we have installation art, conceptual art, happenings and performance art, process art, land art, multimedia and digital art. Furthermore, we have witnessed the break-up of the barrier between the fine or high arts and the popular or low arts.

But sculpture, i.e. form in space, has been with us since the beginning of civilization and, like painting, will survive. The end of History -- Pace Francis Fukuyama -- is not upon us. Furthermore, a major change from previous periods is the absence of an art center. No more Paris and New York. The latter remains the center of the art market, but the production of art has become globalized. This is clearly evident by comparing the outstanding and highly varied sculptures produced by the Pacific Rim Sculpture Group and the Greek Sculpture Group. This essay was written in Berkeley for the exhibition at the distinguished Yianna Grammatopoulou Gallery in Athens, showing parallel concerns of contemporary American and Greek sculptors.

Peter Selz Professor Emeritus University of California, Berkeley


The Pacific Rim Sculpture Group in the San Francisco Bay Area is one of three Chapters in the International Sculpture Center. In 2014, our Chapter reorganized and it was decided to expand our exhibition venues and “go global.” In view of Greece’s rich tradition of ancient art and architecture, we felt that a group exhibition with Athenian sculptors would be a worthwhile exercise in international cooperation and understanding, expanding our horizons and our appreciation of a great culture half a world away. We see throughout Greek cities and the islands that sculpture in particular is a language that reveals, in absract and figurative ways, the passions and objectives of the people. Through collaboration with Greek sculptors, we could share with them ideas about techniques and the importance of the role of public art in our respective countries today. The title of the exhibition, “Magic Carpet Ride,” represents an ongoing discussion about the relationship between our two cultures. Comprised of works by twelve Athenian and seventeen Pacific Rim sculptors, the exhibition of small sculptures may offer some clues as to what is of concern to all of us as artists in a world that reflects more turmoil than stability. Kati Casida Berkeley


Michalis Arfaras Emilia Bantuna Kostas Christopoulos Georgia Damopoulou Vasso Gavaisse Kornelios Grammenos Giorgos Gyparakis Dora Kourtesa Nikos Papadimitriou Ilias Sipsas Kostis Velonis Emmanouil Zacharioudakis

I was born in a place full of persistent shadows. I grew up in a time full of persistent shadows. These are the shadows that never stopped following me, until they became part of my art.

Michalis Arfaras The Little Indian | Plastic, feathers, turtle shell | 70 x 50 x 5 cm | 27.5 x 19.5 x 2 in | 2014

“The Sandals of Mnemosyne”... tossing away any useless sand or soil, with the precious help of Oblivion.

Emilia Bantuna Mnemosyne’s Sandals | Paper in an illuminated plexiglass box | 30 x 25 x 20 cm | 11.75 x 10 x 8 in | 2006

Kostas Christopoulos The Cube | Wooden parquet | 140 x 140 cm (approx.) | 55 x 55 in | 2008

I am searching to give form to the shapeless and in concepts such as life, death and the time in-between, the return, loss, sacrifice, fear, the deliverance of the collective, the fusion or nothing. It might seem useless, but I do not know of any other way beyond art for someone to understand, accept or feel the unspeakable.

Georgia Damopoulou Invest (hommage a Louise Bourgeois) | Nylon | 180 x 45 x 64 cm (overall) | 71 x 17.5 x 25 in | 2006

Pythagoras claimed that “All is number.� The universe, everything in nature and whatever the mind and our soul creates, can be expressed in numbers and harmonies, implying that aesthetic perfection is achieved through mathematical relationships. Even in classical art forms, there is always a dynamic between chaos and serenity. My art explores this conflict between order and chaos, and between growth and stillness.

Vasso Gavaisse Hold Me Tight | Film AL-paper-plexiglass | 90 x 130 cm (diptych) | 35.5 x 51 in | 2014

One of the reasons for making art nowadays is, I believe, nothing else than helping to expand our consciousness.. Thus, one can comprehend ideas, situations and certainly the physical and poetic boundaries of material and the object itself in a perceptive and expansive way.

Kornelios Grammenos Knossos | Painted wood | 34 x 28 x 8 cm | 13.5 x 11 x 3 in | 2012

Giorgos Gyparakis Untitled | Wire | 250 x 100 x 50 cm | 98 x 39.5 x 19.5 in | 2013

Through a colorful ode to purity, I explore sexuality being motivated by childhood memories, outstanding schemas and the deep need of feeling safe. Investigating how the ambiguous dipoles active-passive, exaltation-fall, cavity-projection coexist with the simplicity of volume, the delight of the senses remains my main issue.

Dora Kourtesa Untitled | Slug, iron, paper | 127 x 37 x 48 cm | 50 x 14.5 x 19 in | 2013

My work focuses on the competitive nature of human beings. It depicts our tendency within time for gaming under certain rules and poses questions about dominance and supremacy. Various forms and fields of competition emerge; from a tennis court or a baseball field to crueler kinds that exceed common sense of our societies, such as war.

Nikos Papadimitriou Dead Soldiers | Bronze cast | 8 x 16 x 23 cm | 3 x 6 x 9 in | 2010

Working within an intuitive state of consciousness, I create correlations, attempting to “feed” the impression of an expanded instant; attempting to produce a sort of visual delay, which reflects a dynamic depth. As a result of this (working) objective, the way the final forms narrate their presence, seems, in the same time, elliptical and accumulated.

Ilias Sipsas Ruins II | Melted glass, debris | 30 x 20 x 30 cm | 12 x 8 x 12 in | 2013

Kostis Velonis Under the Shade | Wood, acrylic, clay | 75 x 27 x 8 cm | 29.5 x 10.5 x 3 in | 2014

Art is sometimes a thing-object and sometimes a platform for content (as light is simultaneously matter and energy). So there are problems with the understanding of art. Artwork is an object, a carrier, a testimony, a recording, a promise, and a recollection. The art object is one part of the artwork, the other part is its significance or explanation. Artwork may exist regardless its physical status, through the reputation of its image. As the fame of the artwork gets larger in comparison with artwork as an object, the artwork becomes more important. An artwork just finished in the atelier is practically non existent.

Emmanouil Zacharioudakis Untitled | Wood | 31 x 35 x 38 cm | 12 x 14 x 15 in | 2014

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA SCULPTORS Pacific Rim Sculptors Group T. Barny Patrisia Bengtson-Jones Kati Casida Pam Dernham Bella Feldman Rebecca Fox Peter Hiers Maj-Britt Hilstrom Maru Hoeber Debbie Koppman Kristin Lindseth Giuseppe Palumbo Iris Polos Joseph Slusky Cyrus Tilton Leitha Thrall James K.M. Watts

I aspire to create sculptures that reflect a universe filled with magic and wonder. I have imported personally collected stone from quarries around the world for over 35 years, carving sculptures from massive blocks of calcite, alabaster, granite and marble. I allow myself to be guided by the natural rhythms of the stone. My bronzes come from my carved sculptures.

T. Barny Catena B | Bronze | Edition of 25 | 28 x 23 x 15 cm | 11 x 9 x 6 in | 2015

I use monolithic forms, arches and stacking or layering to denote time past, while working with the elements - earth, water, sun and stone - to bring unity. This life voyage sheds some light on the unexplained phenomena of past cultures, enabling the sculpture to settle in a fantasy of somewhere between the worlds of mind and earth.

Patrisia Bengtson-Jones Ancient Ruins III | Bronze | 18 x 9 x 10 cm | 7 x 3.5 x 4 in | 1992

My sculptures imply motion, a continuous passage through space. “Thrust, undulation, rhythm, inside, outside and around” are all words I use to describe my work and the creative process. I’m influenced by images in the landscape and how movement changes these images. Rhythms of various Greek and Cypriot dances and my study of modern dance patterns help me realize how I want to cut through space with my materials and colors. The seasons, wind, snow, and rushing waterfalls of Norway, the land of my great grandparents, are also reflected in my work.

Kati Casida Firefly | Painted aluminum | 48 x 76 x 28 cm | 19 x 30 x 11 in | 2012

My inspiration has always been the human figure, probing the intricacies and ambiguities of interpersonal interactions. Each sculpture is less literal in the presentation of the body and more a play of the forms of the body against each other to suggest physical and psychological tensions.

Pam Dernham Fleet of Foot | Powder coated steel wire | 63 x 61 x 8 cm | 25 x 24 x 3 in | 2011

I’ve always been interested in the psychological effects of sculpture. It gets beyond your intellect. Materials that have tension interest me. Glass and metal together have a hightened tension. We live in an anxious world with a history of war; I create anxious objects.

Bella Feldman Caliber | Steel, glass | 15 x 23 x 5 cm | 6 x 9 x 2 in | 2014

The circle can be found in most of my work. By manipulating the circle in various configurations, I use minimal positive and negative space to play upon tension, balance and form. The circle also helps to achieve the contrast of material vs. form by invoking a sense of continuousness, calmness and tranquility.

Rebecca Fox Intertwined | Welded steel, patina, laquer | 32 x 25 x 11 cm | 12.5 x 10 x 4.5 in | 2013

I am struck with ways in which humans are swept up in mindless consumption, waste and depletion of our resources. Since 2000, I have gathered fragments of exploded tires from highways for my body of work in which I challenge this lifestyle. I enjoy this material for its flexible qualities, ripped textures and especially for its metaphorical richness. Playing with new possibilities and creating new forms out of torn fragments gives me a momentary sense of hope that a new ideology can be created from our current predicament, providing a more balanced means for human survival.

Peter Hiers Food Chain | Found highway tire steel belt fragments, silverware | 48 x 66 x 5 cm | 19 x 26 x 2 in | 2014

My concern for the availability and purity of water inspires much of my work. This diptych is a combination of old and new material, ancient marble and space-age titanium. To achieve color in titanium requires a water bath injected with electricity. Such a combination is a great metaphor for the present dilemma of balancing the need of water for commercial purposes with the need of our bodies for clean water. Careless use and abuse of water is widespread worldwide. We must prioritize this problem.

Maj-Britt Hilstrom Woven Wave V | French red marble and titanium diptych | 22 x 43 x 2 cm | 8.75 x 17 x 0.75 in | 2008

Boat shapes have always been a part of my sculptural vocabulary. I have made boats of grass, wood, porcelain and bronze. The making of the porcelain elements is very time consuming, but once I have a stack of boats, chairs and fish, they go together in a fast intuitive way. They express feelings of journey, transition, difficulties, happiness that we all experience in our lives. I think of them as Haiku sculptures.

Maru Hoeber Tree, Boat, Chairs | Raku porcelain, wood | 20 x 10 x 16 cm | 8 x 4 x 6.5 in | 2007

For many years I have been making things almost exclusively out of recycled materials. Scraps of foam, cardboard tubes, toilet paper rolls, and crayon boxes become armatures in which the original identity of materials is obscured and totally reconfigured through many layers of paper machĂŠ and paper pulp. For me to understand a piece as finished, it needs to feel autonomous and animated, with a simultaneous sense of itself as playful and mysterious.

Debbie Koppman Tic Tac Toe | Paper MachĂŠ, recycled materials | 15 x 20 x 6 cm | 16 x 8 x 2.5 in | 2006

My sculptural heads are an exploration of the inner world of the individual. The constructions, which include architectural elements, animal and nature references, relate the self to mythologies, dreams and universal concepts. “Tatiana” is a study from life for a larger sculpture called “Labyrinth of Time” which is a meditation on the psychological and spiritual journey that thinking beings must take inwardly to find the true and complete life. 

Kristin Lindseth Tatiana | Bronze | 30 x 10 x 15 cm | 12 x 4 x 6 in | 2013

Unrelenting curiosity, imagination and the inevitable creating began before I understood what an artist was. I am drawn to form and proportion with an additional component of a humanistic story within each sculpture. I blend a classical foundation in sculpture with a textural stylization that visually communicates a tale that speaks of the human condition.

Giuseppe Palumbo Edge | Steel, bronze | 35 x 25 x 7 | 14 x 10 x 3 in | 2014

Climate change is the tip of the iceberg. My foremost concern for the environment is how our species is living, putting human desires and needs above the Earth itself. As if our home were disposable and all other beings minor players in their own lives. Taking many months to complete, a very deep relationship is formed in which the animal subject and I are in a dance. I listen to her story as I tell my own. We are both revealed.

Iris Polos Polar Bear, Extreme Weather Abstraction Cut papers, rubber cement, pigment | 66 x 74 x 38 cm | 26 x 29 x 15 in | 2013

My sculptures attempt to explore the realms of the subconscious. The finished works are like fossils - the imagination captured and preserved. The inherent aspects of sculpture explored in each work have to do with the objects multi-dimensional persona, the relationship between form and color, gesture and tactility.

Joseph Slusky GOJO | Steel and acrylic lacquer paint | 35 x 46 x 33 cm | 14 x 18 x 13 in | 2003

I create a narrative using symbols pieced together in unique configurations. By juxtaposing something manufactured to harm with a new life made with love, I make a commentary on past and current tragic events.

Leitha Thrall An Unfortunate Framework | Bronze | 23 x 18 x 7.5 cm | 9 x 7 x 3 in | 1995

Tension is something I’m drawn to. Tension among subjects within a single piece, a collision of forms that you don’t usually see in nature. I have to provoke tension. Within that tension I seek harmony between dissimilar, conflicting materials or subjects. I have a story, an idea in mind, or a tale to tell.

Cyrus Tilton Nightie | Bronze | Edition of 9 | 61 x 30 x 30 cm | 24 x 12 x 12 in | 2015

Even in ruin and abandonment there is renewal and rebirth, an intricate paradox of decay and regeneration. Within these frozen moments of sculpture, my wish is that the viewer may pause and reflect upon these ongoing cycles of physical and spiritual evolution, which spring from hope, and are in play all around us.

James K.M. Watts Windtreader | Cast bronze | 66 x 56 x 15 cm | 26 x 22 x 6 in | 2012

ARTIST WEBSITES Athenian Sculptors Kostas Christopoulos Georgia Damopoulou Vasso Gavaisse Kornelios Grammenos Giorgos Gyparakis

San Francisco Bay Area Sculptors T. Barny Patrisia Bengtson-Jones Kati Casida

Pam Dernham

Bella Feldman

Rebecca Fox

Peter Hiers

Maj-Britt Hilstrom Maru Hoeber Debbie Koppman Kristin Lindseth Giuseppe Palumbo

Iris Polos

Joseph Slusky

James K.M. Watts

EXHIBITION With many thanks to Kornelios Grammenos and the ekfrasi–yianna grammatopoulou gallery in Athens and Kati Casida and the Pacific Rim Sculptors Group in the San Francisco Bay Area for organizing this international collaborative exhibition.

CATALOG Copyright Š 2015 All rights reserved.

Edited and Designed by Helene Sobol

Cover Design by Kornelios Grammenos

Magic Carpet Ride catalogue  

22 September – 17 October 2015 Valaoritou 9a, Athens, Greece The “ekfrasi – yianna grammatopoulou” gallery, presents an international colla...

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