If you’re a fan of modernist sculpture, and can cast your mind back far enough (if you’re old enough I guess), you might recall a painted steel sculpture previously located outside Myer at Chadstone Shopping Centre, Melbourne – Lenton Parr’s Plant Forms, 1960; currently residing at Point Leo Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. This black, strangely shaped object – part-mechanical looking, part organic – features dark foliage that appears to reach toward the sky, possibly seeking sunlight. Otherwise perhaps it’s an organic something, shape-shifting itself into an alien spacecraft ready for launch? I’ve never been quite sure, but somehow I love it.

Lenton had a way with shape, form and structure – putting together loops and lengths of intersecting and free-flowing lines that were often abstract in result, and at other times crafting objects that appeared perfectly organic – such sculptures taking on insect forms like stick insects or ants. Just brilliant work.

This March, as part of Art Month Sydney, Artereal Gallery (Rozelle, NSW) is launching: CHROMA/ΧΡΩΜΑ, a solo exhibition of new sculptures and paintings by Yioryios Papayioryiou – a New Zealand born early-career artist whose work explores the boundaries between painting, sculpture and architecture; and who’s sculptures remind me of some of the best of Lenton Parr’s work.

Yioryios Papayioryiou, CHROMA/ΧΡΩΜΑ – Exhibition install, photography by Ian Hobbs

Dividing his time between Athens, Greece and Sydney, Australia, Yioryios is a rare find – a clever painter and master craftsman, his dark panelled textured paintings form an edgy and hard backdrop to the exhibition that also features a range of smaller bendy-pointy sculptures that, in context of the exhibition, seem to connect with each other and the paintings – almost in some unknown kind of religious ceremony; or perhaps the connection is due to a subatomic partial gravitational pull? Again I’m just not sure, but I love the feeling of not really knowing. This is real art – it’s rather crazy, but also intensely beautiful. Freeing up the mind just like wide open spaces, art can have huge impact.

Yioryios Papayioryiou, CHROMA 6 Cadmium Orange, 2019
Aluminum, automotive paint and synthetic polymer, 51 x 60 x 50cm

Exhibition curator Barbara Dowse explains the works in a little more detail, stating that Yioryios’ sculptures ‘visually translate his physiological and psychological responses to constructed space, both architectural and natural. He sets out to capture movement through time, through space, through light, through colour. His works are reflective of flux, of fluidity, of change; both his sculptures and paintings transform depending on their angle of placement or location of the viewer.’

Yioryios Papayioryiou, CHROMA 1 Cobalt Blue, 2019
Aluminium, Automotive Paint & Synthetic Polymer, 36 x 60 x 42cm

Like Parr, Yioryios uses mostly black, but says he’s focused on colour – all be it such a small percentage used in his works. The sculptures are finished in Carbon Black automobile paint and there’s Ivory Black synthetic polymer used in the paintings. Colour is confined only to thin minimal borders to contour the sculptures or define the intersection of a painting plane as the eye tracks along the line of colour. The result is powerful.

If there was ever a new Australasian painter/sculpturist to keep your eye on; or indeed to begin collecting immediately, you’d be wise to visit this exhibition and become deeply connected with these brilliant works of art. Rare and unusual – the beautiful gift of abstraction is back. Yioryios – thank you!

Yioryios Papayioryiou: CHROMA/ΧΡΩΜΑ
Until March 30, 2019
Artereal Gallery
747 Darling St, Rozelle NSW
Tel 02 9818 7473

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