Hydra island views, as seen by a painter

The rocky and steep landscape of the island of Hydra, its traditional, well-preserved architecture and the ways that the light falls to define the shapes of the natural and constructed environment have been constant inspirations for a number of Greek artists. Painter and academic Panayiotis Tetsis, one of the artists who is part of the island’s vibrant artistic community, numbers among them. The work of the late Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas is another of the best-known examples. The post-cubist resonances in his work and the sensitivity to color capture the play of form and light that is typical of Hydra. According to art historian Fivi Paraskeva, curator of Katerina Hatziyannouli’s solo exhibition, «Hydra: Color, Sea, Color,» currently being held at the Miranda Art Gallery in Hydra, a certain influence from Ghikas can be detected in the work the artist. The painter has observed the landscape of Hydra throughout the seasons of the year and has attempted to capture the changing light and shades of color. Her work consists of oil paintings on wood or canvas. There are also a couple of mixed works on silk-paper. All of the pieces have a diaphanous effect. The artist works in what can be broadly termed a figurative mode, a style that explores the pure properties of painting and one that is well represented in contemporary Greek art but not always preferred by the more trendy galleries. It is a style in which the Miranda Art Gallery specializes. The gallery, which, having opened in the 70s, is the oldest on Hydra, is housed in the 19th-century mansion where the Miranda Hotel is located and was established by Miranda Paraskeva, proprietor of the hotel. The gallery’s opening was one of the first attempts to create an arts scene outside Athens. Throughout its history, it has shown the work of artists who were considered avant-garde (for example Costas Tsoclis, Pavlos and Diohandi) and represented artists working in different media, such as the solo photography exhibition by Nelly’s. Gradually, it narrowed its sphere mainly to painting. Art historian Fivi Paraskeva, head of the gallery for the past decade, says that her objective is to show quality painting by young, artistically mature artists. Works referencing the Greek landscape, particularly that of Hydra, are of special interest. A selection of these were shown in an exhibition she curated at the Historical Archives – Museum of Hydra this past summer. At the Miranda Art Gallery in Hydra (tel 22980.52230) to September 30.