WASHINGTON, DC – The Embassy of Greece in the U.S. presents the world premiere of the traveling exhibition Hellenic Heads: George Petrides. The exhibition will be on view in the Embassy’s exhibition space May 9-June 10.
Marking the centennial of the Destruction of Smyrna in 1922 and the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence, Petrides presents a personal exploration into his Greek background, seeking to understand the cultural influences that have shaped him and the people closest to him. Starting with a rigorous research process, including archaeological artifacts, academic sources, family stories and historical photographs, Petrides studied six important periods from 2,500 years ago to the present: The Classical Greek Period (510 BC to 323 BC), Byzantine Period (330 AD to 1453 AD), Greek War of Independence (1821-1829), Destruction of Smyrna (1922), Nazi occupation and Greek Civil War (1941-1949), and The Present.
“As a Greek-American— born in Athens and having spent more than half my life in New York City— I have always been interested in my Greek roots, initially absorbing them through my family members: a grandmother who escaped the destruction of Smyrna in 1922 and parents who lived through the 1940s Nazi occupation and ensuing Greek Civil War,” Petrides said. “I continued studying these topics at Harvard College, where I studied Classical Greek literature, philosophy and history, as well as four visits to Mount Athos, where I was steeped in art and culture from the Byzantine period.”
Petrides’ creative process is of his own invention. He often begins by sculpting in clay from a live model or historical photographs. Next, the clay piece is scanned in 3-D, and the digital file is manipulated using sculpting software. Then it is 3D printed or CNC milled in a size that is up to two-and-a-half times life-size. Petrides then reworks the piece by hand, using power tools and construction materials. Often the sculpture is then cast in bronze in Greece, using the same lost-wax process that was used by the ancient Greeks 2,500 years ago. Finally, various patinas are applied in a rich expressionistic manner.
“Hellenic Heads is an artistic dialogue between the past and present, elucidating the universal character of Greek culture and its fundamental role in shaping Greek identity,” said Eleftheria Gkoufa, cultural manager. “This traveling exhibition highlights the necessity of art and the importance of the creator in modern society and conveys intercultural dialogue through cultural diplomacy. Cultural diplomacy is key to the mutual understanding of other nations and their cultural heritage, as it examines human development through artistic creation.”
After the Embassy of Greece in Washington, DC, Hellenic Heads will travel to The Muses in Southampton, NY, where it will be exhibited from June 16 -Sept. 5. From there, it will travel to other venues in the USA and continue to European venues in 2023. Details are forthcoming and to be announced on www.petrides.art.
The exhibition will be open to the public on Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 AM-3 PM, May 9-June 10.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
George Petrides, the international sculptor who lives and works in New York City and Athens, Greece, creates abstracted figurative sculpture in sizes ranging from a few inches to more than life-size, combining the timeless with the contemporary. Born in Athens in 1964 and raised there and in New York, he is steeped in ancient Greek sculpture and the works that were influenced by it (Donatello, Michelangelo, Auguste Rodin, Aristide Maillol, et al.) as well as the 20th-century modernists who re-interpreted these traditions. He closely follows contemporary figurative sculptors, especially those who reference ancient Greek art, such as Charles Ray and Huma Bhabha as well as the many other artists who are part of a resurgence in figurative sculpture.
Growing up in a family of artists and businesspeople, Petrides’ first career was in finance. At the age of 32, he took his first-ever art class. He continued to study and make art part-time for more than 20 years, taking drawing, painting and sculpture classes at the New York Studio School, The Art Students League in New York and L’Academie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. In 2017, Petrides dedicated himself to making art full-time. He has had solo shows in Dubai, Mykonos and Monaco. From December 2021 to February 2022, he had a two-artist show with the renowned Greek-American abstract painter Nassos Daphnis at the Consulate of Greece in New York, in which he presented some of his small sculptures. He has also participated in group shows in Athens, London and New York. Later this year, he expects to have a second solo show in Dubai, in which he will present his Emirates Collection. More information is available online: www.petrides.art, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/petrides.art/ and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/petridisfineart.