Picturing one’s home as concept and mood

Asked to paint one’s home, most children will draw the standard four-walled box with the sloping roof, large windows and, at times, a chimney. It is usually meant as an enclosed space, a refuge that symbolizes security from the outside world. Even as adults, this is how we more or less imagine our domestic space to be: private, protected and cherished. In the paintings of Io Angeli that are presented in «Home Everywhere,» the title of her solo show held at the Athens Art Gallery for a few more days, the archetypal shape of the four-walled house is a recurring theme. But instead of painting a compact shape, Angeli draws only its outlines and places this imaginary, void construction on top of a table or in the hands of a smiling woman. One’s home is one’s thoughts and feelings, an idea rather than a reality, something that can be broken down into parts and reassembled. Home is not something that we leave behind but what we carry within. «Home is what is inside us, untidy and fluid, prefabricated, ready at any moment to be rebuilt, and torn down once more,» Io Angeli notes in the exhibition’s supplementary catalog. In each painting, Angeli depicts a smiling female figure. Drawn in bold outlines, the figure is placed in a space of overlapping planes and diaphanous, hovering shapes. A red fish in a handbag or a hearth placed upon a table are examples of the prevailing surreal effect that typifies each composition. Daubed areas of fiery red color interrupt the gray tones that dominate each painting and infuse the paintings with a fairy-tale, magical ambience. In Angeli’s paintings one will find skill and imagination but also a blend of childhood innocence with adult maturity that will provoke a smile of familiarity. Her works at once communicate a sense of bonding and liberation and show that true bonds are rooted to our thoughts, memories and emotions, not in that which is material. One’s home is the vessel of these thoughts and emotions, something that we never part from, as far away as we may be from our actual domestic space. «Home Everywhere» at the Athens Art Gallery (4 Glykonos, Dexameni Square, Kolonaki, 210.721.3938) through Saturday.

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