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Natália Gromicho
 'Through A Glass, Darkly'
Ground Floor Gallery: 29 September- 25 October 2014

I don’t know what my life was without a way to express myself. All my life is written in my works, they speak from my soul’ - Natália Gromicho

Natália Gromicho’s work is often concerned with perception and reality. Her canvases are as energetic as the Lisbon streets with desiccating slogans and sunset red riots, and it is easy to see the personal influence of this bright chaotic city. Painted lines scrawl over deserted pastel buildings, the ubiquitous graffiti contrasting with the multiple layers.

Gromicho controls temperature and atmosphere as though adjusting a thermostat or volume button. The dialled tones range across canvas from cool-eyed blues to fiery madder hues. Her highly pigmented glazes gloss over boundaries between figures and abstractions, creating a shift in focus and scale. The use of wet and dry brushwork adds to the subtle variations in mood- shiny as slick taillights in the rain, as grubby as the exhaust fumes that blacken the puddles.

The recurring image of a headless and armless female mannequin verges on the surreal, and within this metaphysical framework Gromicho paints with an anything-might-happen wildness. Her paintings are slowly piecing together a philosophical mosaic- and with more and more in demand, her unique vision only gets clearer.


Igor Tcholaria
'Nostalgia For The Present'
Lower Ground Floor Gallery: 29 September - 25 October 2014


To other people’s amazement
who cannot even imagine it,

it’s not for the past but the present
I feel extremely nostalgic.

- Andrey Voznesensky Nostalgia for the Present 
(Translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov)

As autumn sheds its leaves to reveal longer nights and darker days, Russian painter Igor Tcholaria matches the changing mood with a new show at Hay Hill Gallery. This bright jewel of an exhibition borrows its title from Voznesensky’s poem Nostalgia for the Present, and continues with the theme of wistful melancholy. Peering through his rose tinted lens, the artist turns his gaze to the here and now, treating it with a contemplation usually reserved for things seen in retrospect.

Although the poet notes that he can ‘never catch hold of it’, Tcholaria refuses to let the fleeting present elude him. He names his style ‘retroperspective’ and the impasto layers are endless as colourful handkerchiefs from a magician’s sleeve. Dramatic leaps across the canvas express an enchanting circus of moving light and swooping shadow. There are ballets and puppets, dancing horses and the flying trapeze- with the artist as ringmaster directing the spectacle.

This longing for the present is neatly expressed in our current obsession with social media- every moment viewed as potential memory. Applications, such as Instagram, document the future past through a haze of vintage fuzzy filters. The faux-retro adds weight and authenticity to our immediate existence, bridging the gap between the ideal and the real. Similarly, Tcholaria’s paintings are not naturalistic but manage to convey a brilliant vitality and exuberance; they are contemporary ideas seen through the style filter of familiar old masters.

Chaos and order are balanced on these canvases in complicated patterns and simple outlines. In a post-modern culture, identities seem blurred and we increasingly find ourselves at odds with our surroundings. We may feel homesick- but we are also thoroughly sick of home- the past is the magical place we are exiled from forever; the future promised land vanishes in a miserable puff of smoke the instant we reach it. Consciousness is wasted by mourning what has been lost or obsessing over finding utopia. Our ability to live fully in reality has become limited.

Nostalgia for the Present offers a place to step aside from the push and pull, just to be still for a moment. It is up to you the spectator how long you pause, constantly reconnecting to the ground beneath your feet, not to be swept back in hindsight or hoodwinked by whatever may or may not happen next. To focus on the right-here-right-now frees you from regret and anxious fear. It is the only place you can know yourself and really exist, yet many find it the hardest place to remain in: Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, ‘the present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments.’

E. S. Jones

The exhibition is held alongside a sculpture collection which features works by Oleg Prokofiev, Eleanor Cardozo, Nicola Godden, Richard L.Minns, Andy Cheese, Jamie McCartney, Ian Edwards, Gianfranco Meggiato, Massimiliano Cacchiarelli Principi, and Palolo Valdés.


E-mail: info@hayhillgallery.com