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Uploaded by : Valerie Gladstone | 05/15/09

Nicolas Vlavianos

Kouros Gallery

September 6 – October 13

Reviewed by Valerie Gladstone

Vlavianos’ formidable sculptures emanate tremendous power. Made of iron, bronze, stainless steel, brass and wood, they are fierce – sometimes threatening - in their intensity. More than half are named for Greek gods or myths, like Nike, Oedipus and the Sphinx, and Heracles and the Hydra of Lerna but even those with less specific names suggest eternal iconic forms. But they also breathe with life, the artist’s hands always felt sculpting, cutting, riveting, molding and casting.

A Greek, who has spent most of his life working and teaching in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he returns to his Greek roots in these sculptures, finding after years of separation a connection with ancient sculpture. In each of them, he combines the geometric with the organic, for instance, in the elegant figure of Athena, a goddess, a defender and a force of nature, and in the cruder, primitive Kouros, a boy of welded steel still emerging from childhood.

They are affecting in ways more associated with far larger sculpture. They range from the spiky Open Book, a confluence of strips of stainless steel and brass, which measures only 11 3/4 x 23 ½ x 9 ¾, to the absolutely beautiful “Fly” – 36 ¼ x 16 ¼ x 8. It is comprised of slender strips of stainless steel that look as if they have been caught in a gale force wind. These works make it hard to be anything less than ecstatic. What’s particularly remarkable is that Vlavianos can imbue such severe totems with so much humanity.

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