In 1984, at the age of 15, Yorgos moved in with his grandmother in England to further his education. Her house - a charming Arts & Crafts house in a north London garden suburb and today Yorgos's studio - was the refuge he and his family were given when they fled Famagusta after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. In 1999, he graduated from the Royal College of Art and embarked on his successful career. It is well known that Yorgos is fascinated by the forms produced in nature, by fluidity in matter, by light and the interconnection of the images they produce with cultural and personal heritage. Less known is his playful attachment to numerical symbolism. 30/15 is for him the mark to open the doors of the house and studio, so full of emotions, of spirit, of art.
The dichotomy of the cultures of his youth and the disruptive effects of their clashing has had a significant influence on all of Yorgos’s works. “Something is broken here,”says Yorgos, “but it is mended. It is made to look beautiful. That is what I do.”
Originally inspired by the Middle Eastern belief in the ματόπετρα(commonly called the evil eye), the Stratified Jewels series are unique glass artworks in which pigmented resins are the pool for several materials, such as gold leaf, broken glass and metallic powders. In the Eyes of Awareness, an installation of 5 pendants, currently on display at the Cyprus High Commission, the artist develops away from awareness of evil. The original traditional amulet is most closely portrayed in the smallest piece. Put together they resemble a planetary system, representing a more cosmic awareness. And through the use of mirrored glass we are moved into the realm of self-awareness.
A clash of cultures is also present in the New Icons series. They represent the collision and reconciliation of two visual traditions, of novelty in Western culture with the rigidity of Greek Orthodox iconography. The idea to treat the icons as windows between the human and divine worlds came during a retreat to Mount Athos. Glass is both transparent and capable of bearing an image, a revelation and a mystery. The “Twelve Madonnas”were first exhibited at the Famagusta gate, Nicosia in 2008, a location echoing the theme of displacement that is found in many of the works.
The Panagia of Chora, was made after the artist saw the deisis in the Chora church, now a museum in Istanbul. “The Virgin is both the Mother of God and a woman. She is eternal, but also mortal; unchanging, but capable of change.” Comments Yorgos.
The inspiration of forms produced in nature can be found in the Open Water Diving series, a body of work that came about after diving in the Great Barrier Reef. The unspoiled natural beauty of the deep sea, with its darkness and contrasting radiance of colourful and even luminescent underwater creatures is portrayed in the OWD Triptych.
“Look in thy Glass,”says Shakespeare to the beloved youth in his third sonnet, encouraging him to procreate. We don’t know what the beloved youth has done with this advice, but Yorgos certainly will not “die single.”The artworks he sometimes intimately refers to as his babies can be found in restaurants, cruise liners, offices, private homes and now even a school.
The artist opens his studio and invites everyone to come and admire a new body of work based on the tears of wine.
31 Tower Gardens Rd, London N17 7PS
Fri 17th October: 5pm - 10pm
Sat 18th October: 10 am - 7pm
Sun 19th October: 11 am - 6pm
To find out more and view Yorgos's work please visit Yorgos Glass.