Australian artist Max Grierson creates collection of paintings inspired by the Athens neighborhoods and the Greek islands
Australian artist Max Grierson, better known for his architectural painting style and his drawings of picturesque landscapes, has created a unique collection of drawings inspired by Athens, the Greek countryside and the Aegean islands.
Although Max does not speak Greek and is not of Greek descent, he has expressed multiple times his special relationship with Greece and his love for the country, that influences his art like no other place in the world.
In a recent interview, Max explained that the peculiarity of the Greek urban landscapes and his passion for Greek mythology, have inspired him in the past to create entire collections dedicated to Greece.
One of his latest projects, which is called Greece, includes a variety of drawings that portray some of the oldest neighborhoods of Athens, with focus on old buildings and classical architecture.
The drawings were created using ink-based markers and some aquarelle pencils on acid free paper.
“Some of the oldest buildings in Athens are not inhabited, but they are magnificent and a true source of inspiration. Some are currently under maintenance and are being restored to look like new. Others are being pulled down."
"I find old buildings very interesting. They carry so much history” he said.
Max, who is currently retired and spends a lot of his time creating art pieces for his collections, used to be the head of the Arts Department at the Caulfield Grammar School, one of Melbourne's leading private educational institutions.
“I have been involved with art all my life, I have done individual and group exhibitions. Drawing and painting are the main forms of my art. I travel, I get inspired and I create,” he explained.
In recent years, Max and his wife Morin, who has been studying the Greek language for years, visit Greece frequently.
As he described, his favourite part about travelling is going to the mainland of the country and the Aegean islands, to paint the Greek urban and island landscape, and various traditional settlement buildings.
“Since retiring my wife and I have been travelling to Greece a lot, because I find that Greece really stimulates my visual artistic field as much as anything and motivates me to create more.”
His latest collection is not in fact his first attempt to display his admiration for Greek culture and mythology.
“Knowledge of mythology helps us comprehend other cultures through art, hopefully so that we can understand them on a deeper level,” he claimed.
In 2015, with this collection of drawing works, named Myth and Legend Goes Pop, Max dealt with that he calls “the narrative power of ancient Greek mythology and fashion”.
He merged ancient myths and legends with modern forms of art, all through allegoric metaphors and symbolisms.
“My works in my Greek exhibitions are about asking people to be critical or perceptive of myth and legend. Art can help us distinguish substance from the irrelevant or vacuous,” Max said.
“Some of my paintings inspired by Greek culture have an element of the fantastic in them. There is no intent to harm the right of integrity of the original myths, only to promote a sceptical response to them.”
On the contrary, his newest collection of Athenian landscapes carries a more realistic tone and showcases his real-life experience in Greece.
In 2018, Max was in Athens for three months and started creating a series of projects related to old buildings, some of which had been damaged during the two World Wars.
“Some people thought it was something symbolic, a picture of decline, but it was not. For me, these buildings depicted a regret for the loss of such a majestic architecture that has now been sacrificed for something modern,” Max declared.
After spending a lot of time in Athens and Kardamyli, Max also stayed in the islands of Hydra, Serifos and Sifnos, where he recorded images of buildings with local architecture, quaint small villages, citadels and even castles.
“The Greek islands are some of the best places to create any form of art. Beautiful light and strong contrasts. I tried to capture the brightness and the patterns with the strong contrast of the colours from the sky and the sea.”
Currently Max is working on a series of works that he started in Crete in 2019, and which is based on Byzantine art.
“The Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens is my favourite museum in the world, and I visit it every time I go to Greece,” he added.
In this upcoming collection, which will be displayed in Greece and Australia, Max is using photographs that he has taken of monasteries and churches scattered throughout Greece, the Greek islands and the mainland.
However, his future plans have been put on hold, since the COVID-19 pandemic era has forced Max, just like most artists, to use the internet to exhibit their work through online galleries and art events.
This year, Max said that “unfortunately” he did not go to Greece, and expressed his wish to return there as soon as possible, to continue his artistic work, and to be in the Greek environment, the light and the landscape that inspire him so much.
All photos from Max Grierson Gallery. Visit: https://maxgrierson.com/
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