CULTURE

New blood in two downtown galleries

If you feel the need to experience and support the positive side of daily life in the so-called difficult areas of Athens, two Metaxourgeio galleries almost invariably offer good reason for a downtown visit. Besides showcasing group shows by young artists, this summer The Breeder and the Rebecca Camhi Gallery are presenting their current aesthetic state of mind.

At the Rebecca Camhi Gallery works by four artists (all under the age of 30) coexist in harmony. The sense of flow is a result not only of the shared medium of painting, but is also due to a common emphasis on research and observation. According to the exhibition?s curator, Stavia Grimani, the four artists share the notion of ?conscious and subconscious memory.?

Memories of a bygone modern Greece are evident in the works of Alexia Karavela, which are based on random photographs. Pay special attention to the artist?s frames.

Known for his street art murals around the center of Athens, Andreas Ragnar Kasapis combines photographs and paintings, while Chrysanthi Koumianaki focuses on public and private meeting places, namely metropolitan parks and the way they influence the private space and personal time of their visitors. Vassilis Paspalis?s singular portraits go against the rules of conventional narrative by presenting characters before and after a suspicious event.

Meanwhile, The Breeder is presenting ?Looking Forward,? an exhibition which is part of the gallery?s ongoing search for renewal. Women artists take up the gallery?s ground floor. Catherine Vafias experiments on the surreal dimension of the natural world through her work on glossy surfaces.

Archetypal and sacred symbols take lead roles in the sculptures of Maria Kachramanoglou. The artist combines plaster and clay with unexpected objects which reinforce the collision of the temporary and the permanent. Dafni Barbageogropoulou?s work stands out for its measured geometry. Among the artist?s creative explorations is the relationship between mathematics and poetry.

In the gallery?s basement, the participating male artists add color and — possibly — more intensity. It?s hard, for instance, to ignore the powerful references to the philosophy and formalism of the modernist movement in the sculptures of Vassilis H. Giorgos Stamkopoulos explores the boundaries of abstract expressionism through a series of ?accidental,? powerful works which are pieces of a larger canvas. In his large-scale collages, street artist HOPE is inspired by the city and uses archaeological elements.

At both venues you will find staff members who are both knowledgeable and willing to show you around.

?Young Greek Artists? at the Rebecca Camhi Gallery (9 Leonidou, Metaxourgeio, tel 210.321.0448) to September 30; ?Looking Forward? at The Breeder (45 Iasonos, tel 210.331.7527) to July 30.