by Tamar Levi
Greece Inspires My Art
Tropical beaches in Europe. Guaranteed good weather. Mountains, architecture and the sea. Greece is so beautiful.
My Art Inspires People to Visit
I was surprised: a North European art collector came to a private viewing of my solo show intending to buy a painting of Belgium but ended up buying a painting of Greece!
The art collector then told me that the location I had painted has become their top priority for their next holiday. This makes me feel proud of the beauty of my adopted country. This makes me excited for their first journey to the places that inspire me. It also makes me feel like an art ambassador for Greece.
Greece Has Hidden Beauty Too
The thing I want to share with some of this collection as a whole is that Greece is beautiful all over, not just the most famous sights.
The smaller gallery works travel far and wide and around hidden corners.
I have painted some popular destinations, but also lots of hidden parts of the mainland and islands and villages in colours you might not expect, from angles you might want to explore.
There are large paintings, one monoprint and even small sketches in watercolour and acrylic from my travel sketchbooks.
The monoprint was inspired by a series of watercolour sketches created during a deeply emotional journey to the Kalavryta monument.
There are even hidden nature landscapes in the city of Athens too!
For example, did you know there’s a very beautiful, peaceful and deserted part of Palio Psychiko in Athens?
It looks like mountains on the moon, but with secret, delicate wild flowers.
More Than Beauty
The paintings do not aim to be just aesthetically pleasing, there’s a philosophy and mythology and cultural context in them too.
I try to paint with longing and wonder. Ancient Greek Philosophy might say there’s an Aristotelian catharsis intentionally expressed through longing to return to these landscapes. Modern philosophers might say there’s an exploration of Kant’s concept of the sense of wonder for the sublime in nature.
My painting of the Temple at Cape Tenaron grows deeper and calmer when you know it’s the mythological gateway to the underworld.
The Temple of Sounio appears more childlike when you feel young compared to the age of the stones.
The view of Meteora is a globally unique mixture of cultural heritage and Paleogenic rock formations. Can you see the spectacular wild vegetation that houses comparatively miniature monasteries there too?
Me Missing Greece Becomes A Positive Gateway
My current solo show is called IMMENSITIES. It’s a collection of large landscapes of Greece and Belgium. Although living between Greece and Belgium is my current journey, the boundaries are not so present in this collection.
The art collector that came for Belgium but ended up buying Greece taught me there is a deeply personal journey of my encounter here, with these two nations’ presence in nature, and my response to their beauty as an aesthetic experience. However, they were both explored in a shared global pandemic and so in each canvas there is the shared need for passing through a gateway, whether it be painted, or over the frame, or beyond the water, and onwards into an expanding space in front of us. Even though the collector cannot travel out of our Red Zone for the moment, they have been inspired to visit.
How much I miss Greece has translated into inspiring her excitement to visit. This movement towards positive change is intentional. I hope that through all these bright colours, you can sense the optimism I’m trying to plaster on our walls. This is my political act: to counter the negativity of the news, the lockdowns, the temporal ruptures, with colourful movement across borderless canvases intended for regular positive uplift of your mood at home. The painting of Greece that will shine in their home will transport their family on holiday every day until they visit.
Then it will be the momento that came before the nostalgia that came after a trip to Greece.