Tropical beaches in Europe. Guaranteed good weather. Mountains, special architecture and sea. Greece is so beautiful.
My art inspires people to visit it.
I hosted a collector of works of art from Northern Europe at a private presentation of my exhibition, and while they were planning to buy a painting from Belgium, they ended up buying a painting from Greece! They then told me that the location I had painted – Naxos Island in particular – has become their first priority for their next vacation. This makes me proud of the beauty of my “adopted” country. It makes me feel like an art ambassador for Greece.
In addition to beauty
The paintings are not intended to be just aesthetically pleasing, there is still underlying philosophy, mythology, the cultural context.
My painting of Cape Tainaro changes, you might reflect on it more peacefully, when you know it is the mythological gateway to the underworld.
The Temple of Sounion of Poseidon seems more impressively ancient when you feel young compared to the age of the architecture.
The view of Meteora is a unique mix of cultural heritage and ancient geology.
My motivation is that I miss Greece
I named my exhibition IMMENSITIES. This is a collection of great landscapes of Greece and Belgium. Although my life between Greece and Belgium is a “permanent journey,” the boundaries are missing from this collection.
The art collector who came to buy a painting about Belgium, but ended up buying a painting from Greece, taught me that although there is a very personal journey for me here, with the presence of these two countries in my life, and my response, in terms of their beauty, as an aesthetic experience. And yet, even though the collector cannot travel outside the “Red Zone” of Belgium at the moment, they were inspired to visit Naxos. How much I miss Greece was “translated” through art as a source of inspiration into their enthusiasm to visit it.
The collection is presented in an exhibition entitled IMMENSITIES at the Art Base gallery in Brussels from 24 September 2020.
* Tamar Levi is a painter and author of children’s books She grew up in Alaska, lives in Belgium and has “married” into Greece – See more at https://tamarlevi.com/
Translation to English: An exhibition entitled “IMMENSITIES” at the Art Base Gallery in Brussels opening September 24 by the painter and author of children’s books Tamar Levi.
The exhibition “IMMENSITIES” is a collection of great landscapes of Greece and Belgium and, as the author states, “Although my life between Greece and Belgium is a” permanent journey,” there are no boundaries in this collection.”
According to her, “What I want to share with the world is that Greece is beautiful and this does not only concern its most famous sights (Santorini, Acropolis, etc).”
Tamar Levi has painted several popular destinations, but also many “remote” parts of the mainland and islands and villages in colors that the viewer may not expect, from perspectives she wants the world to explore.
The exhibition includes large paintings, a monoprint but also small sketches in watercolor and acrylic from the painter’s sketchbooks. The monoprint in particular was inspired by a series of sketches she painted during a deeply emotional and moving journey to the Kalavrita Holocaust memorial.
“I feel like an ambassador of Greek art,” she says, as our country inspires her art and her art inspires people to visit Greece and its hidden beauties.
Tamar Levi grew up in Alaska, lives in Belgium and has “married” into Greece. More about her and her work here: https://tamarlevi.com/
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.
My original idea of painting on the frame aims to draw the viewer into the scene, in a sculptural way.
This provides the art collector with immediacy for hanging.
The bespoke frames provide deep dimensionality.
This allows the viewer to step into a scene. Another window for their home.
Most of these works are painted through the canvas and over the frame. I felt bad that art collectors often buy a work and then have to take it for framing.
If I can provide them with a ready-to-hang piece of art, I save them that extra time and expense.
To prepare for this collection I hunted for the biggest and most beautiful antique frames from markets and auction houses in Athens, Greece and Brussels, Belgium. Then I affixed and painted both canvases and frame simultaneously.
I have not perfected the method but so far I’m told it’s both helpful and delightful. What more can I offer?