Fitzroy Library Exhibition Space, 128 Moor Street, Fitzroy
Stories of the ancients in our time
Paintings in acrylics, watercolours and oils
3 August - 29 September 2013
Report by Nathan Moshinsky
I enjoyed viewing the exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Grazia Marin currently on view at the Fitzroy library. The exhibition continues till 29 September 2013.
Grazia is an experienced artist and has a Diploma of Visual Arts from RMIT University, Melbourne, and tuition from a professional artist (Gwen Krumin) from 1997 to 2002. Also she has completed an arts in business course at Victoria University.
Grazia has participated in numerous group exhibitions including those organised by the Contemporary Arts Society of Victoria, the Linden gallery, the Moonee Valley Arts week, Art in Public Places, at the Williamstown Festival 2006 and has exhibited in a solo show at the Fitzroy Library in 2007, which, as in the case of the present show, was also supported by the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria.
Grazia has received numerous prizes and awards including 3rd prize at the Contemporary Art Society annual exhibition in 2008 and was a finalist in the Bone Marrow Donor Institute Art Prize, the second prize for watercolour and the 3rd prize for oil painting at the Royal Melbourne Show in 2006. She has donated two paintings to the Music school of Penleigh and Essendon Grammar. Also one painting has been commissioned for the front cover of a medical text book.
Her skill with illustration of ideas is displayed in the current show which is themed as “Stories of the Ancients in our time.” A similar theme was also pursued by Grazia in her first solo show at Eckersley’s Open Space Gallery in 2009.
There are thirteen works on display in the Fitzroy library show. These works reflect an interpretation of some of the legends of Greek mythology. This ancient theme is explored in a modern manner combining an excellent drawing technique with impressionistic washes. The characters in this series are represented in a realistic fashion but they are placed in an abstracted world.
The Cyclops and their feed, watercolour on paper, 56 x 38 cm, by Grazia Marin
The viewer is encouraged to interpret the works in an individual manner. Thus enjoyment of these works can be experienced by viewers without a knowledge or grounding in classical mythology.
Thus, in The Cyclops and their feed, two male figures are drawn in a realistic manner but are surrounded by swirling watercolour washes.In Greek mythology the Cyclops were huge monsters with frightening features, which liked to eat human beings. They were leading a debauched life and their works were always full of force, violence and intrigues. They had a single eye in the middle of the forehead.
A Fury, watercolour on paper, 56 x 38 cm, by Grazia Marin
In this painting Grazia uses watercolour and pen on paper to capture the feelings of fear and impotence faced by humans when confronted and threatened by supernatural forces.
A similar effect is conveyed by A Fury, which is also executed in watercolour and pen on paper. It depicts a woman clothed in contemporary dress enveloped in swirling waves. In Greek and Roman mythology, the Furies were female spirits of justice and vengeance. They were also called the Erinyes (angry ones), known especially for pursuing people who had murdered family members. The Furies punished their victims by driving them mad. When not punishing wrongdoers on earth, they lived in the underworld and tortured the damned. Grazia has a captured this powerful and vengeful force in her skillful drawing and watercolour.
The exhibition also has a group of works executed on cards using pen and ink and watercolour washes. These small works are displayed on cards attached to paper and also depict various themes from mythology. I particularly liked this group of work which executed with sensitivity of line and blended the ambiguity and spontaneity of washes with fine pen work. My particular favourite is Death of the sphinx, watercolour and pen on paper.
Death of the Sphinx, watercolour, pen on paper, 56 x 38 cm, by Grazia Marin
Apart from works on paper Grazia has shown her competence in the use of oil and acrylic on canvas as in Atlas overwhelmed. A naked crouched male figure of Atlas which is painted in oils is enveloped in a cascade of acrylic. The effect is powerful and dynamic. The combination of the two mediums is unusual but successful. A particularly good example of the combination of these two mediums is The Rhythm Maker, which conjures up the sense of music played by a figure on a recorder or flute.
Some works combine acrylic and pen on acetate and paper. This work is abstract and experimental but has a strong force of its own.
The Rhythm maker, oil and acrylic on canvas, 76 x 51 cm, by Grazia Marin
Also I enjoyed Daphne, be careful what you wish for. This work in acrylic on canvas depicts a woman in red dress and hair placed in a setting of abstract washes of green pink and yellow. As a medium, acrylics combines the washy effect of watercolours but also provides a body or substance to the depicted figure. In Greek mythology Daphne was a female nymph who, because of her beauty, was pursued by Apollo - a female in distress! In Grazia’s painting the alarm and sense of urgency is conveyed with great effect.
Daphne, be careful what you wish for, acrylic on canvas, 92 x 61 cm, by Grazia Marin
Overall the paintings in this show not only show an inventive use of various mediums but also great skills in drawing with a good use of colour, composition and figure proportions.
I recommend this show to all members.