Living in the Greek Topos
OTE Art Windows
Living in the Greek Topos, Paintings by Barry Feldman, in the OTE Art Windows
OTE Art Windows
40 Ermou Street, Thessaloniki, Greece
2-23 February, 2020
The world beats a path to New York City’s store windows on Fifth Avenue, and in Thessaloniki it’s…the OTE Art Windows near Agia Sophia Square, where New Yorker Barry Feldman’s “Living in the Greek Topos” paintings appear for the month of February. No local or tourist in Thessaloniki’s beautiful city center dares miss this iconic artspace in the Greek telecom giant OTE Group’s central building at 40 Ermou Street. The work represents the artist’s 30 years of painting the landscape of his adopted country, from Crete, Santorini, and the Peloponnese, to nature’s riches in northern Greece, and honors 17th century painter Nicolas Poussin and Paul Cezanne, Feldman’s “spiritual godfather.” The full exhibition opens at Chalkos Gallery, 12 Ioustinianou Street, Thessaloniki, in May 2020.
The Poussin: Restructured, Paintings by Barry Feldman exhibition opened at the Teloglion Foundation of Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on April 19, 2018.
Teloglion Foundation of Arts
Agiou Dimitriou 159A, Thessaloniki, Greece
Opening: April 19, 2018, 19:30
Teloglion Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday
Poussin: Restructured. This work is the product of a lifelong search as a painter for lasting and meaningful structure in my art. The paintings of Paul Cezanne remain at the heart of this effort, as an inspiration and as a source of information. Cezanne embraced the techniques of the Impressionists, namely painting en plein air and the ensuing use of brilliant color to represent the effects of natural light, especially in landscape. He became deeply distressed, however, at the loss of structure and significant form, and longed for what he termed “the art of the museums.” In this he was, in essence, a reactionary. He wanted to go back to Nicolas Poussin, whom he credited for establishing, in the first half of the seventeenth century, the importance of landscape in European painting. As Cezanne himself put it, “I want to do Poussin over after Nature.”
French painter Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) worked most of his life in Rome, his paintings commissioned by wealthy collectors as well as by the Church and state. His subjects were drawn from history, Classical mythology and the Bible, and were composed within landscapes whose power and beauty launched the future course of landscape painting in Europe and beyond. All of Poussin’s paintings contain figures, often many figures. These figures are integral to the landscape, not only directing the eye across the surface of the painting but also back into depth. Fast forward to Cezanne, who, taking a cue from the Impressionists, who had in their turn taken a cue from the previous generation of French landscape painters, used landscape itself to tell the entire story. Without the figures, the conundrum of representing three-dimensional space on two-dimensional canvas became paramount. No trompe l’oeil, no form-diminishing atmospheric perspective, no overriding abstract geometry. Only color and form at their richest!
As a child, seeing a Cezanne landscape at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, I realized that I was a painter. I dreamed of being in nature with my straw hat and box of colors, confronting a mountain or a single pine tree – contemplating it, loving it, painting it, and being fully alive. Humbly, with Poussin: Restructured, I endeavor to “do Poussin through Cezanne over after Nature.”