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August 7th – September 30th 2023
Reception: Thursday, September 7th 2023 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
The Nohra Haime Gallery presents a tribute to the creative legacy of the exceptionally talented international artist, Sophia Vari. The exhibition showcases a group of sculptures, watercolor paintings, and assemblages to honor the late artist. This presentation accompanies the public installation of 12 monumental bronze sculptures on Park Avenue between 54th and 62nd streets. This exhibition places emphasis on the timelessness of Sophia Vari’s art.
This exhibition contains work as early as 1980, when Vari cast bronze sculptures of robust reclining figures, watercolor compositions of layered geometric abstractions on paper. When placed in chronological order the viewer experiences the journey of an artist in continuous ascent toward perfection. While remaining true to her individual aesthetic, her search for balance between volume, layer and surface is apparent within two-dimensional paintings and collages. Having mastered the relationship between what is physical yet sensual, Vari exposes the harmony between the flat and voluminous.
Sophia Vari was born on the peninsula of Attica, Greece in a small village named Vari in 1940. Sophia Canellopoulos adopted her art name “Vari” from her birthplace. She began to paint at the Heathfield School in London at 16 years old. She then moved to Paris, France to continue her education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1958. When asked by Insider Athens “What is your life Philosophy?” Vari responds “Work. I have found nothing else that interests me, concerns me, or intrigues me more than the time when I am in my workshop working… My life’s destination is my art and whatever has to do with it.”
Sophia Vari exhibited for the first time in 1969 in London. Her early work consisted of dominant female figures expressed in voluptuous sensual forms revealing her influence from Greek sculpture and Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens. After declaring painting to be “a trompe l’oeil” an illusion, she turned her attention toward sculpture in 1978. The desire to walk around a work of art to know it truly exists, overwhelmed her expression.
In the 1980s the two-dimensional art was organic in form containing limited sharp angles and color. Although her work remains fluid in its design, she began implementing distinct angled curving lines. This shift brought the sculptures and collages from organic matter to geometric dimensionality. “Sophia” in Greek translates to “wisdom” a most befitting name to those who have the pleasure of observing her work. In 1991 she turned her attention toward monumental sculpture inspired by the Olmec civilization. The bronze sculptures give the illusion at any moment they could separate and walk off the pedestals. By adding color to the sculptures Vari satisfies the balance between chromatic blends into voluminous form.
Sophia Vari’s work has been exhibited internationally in public city squares, museums and galleries. She has blessed the world with the legacy of her creations, for which we are thankful. Museum exhibitions include The Ludwig Museum, Kombletz; the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; the Palazzo Bricherassio, Torino; and more recently, the Pera Museum, Istanbul. Her monumental sculptures have traveled through 12 European, Asian and Latin American cities. Multiple international public collections around the world contain her work, including: National Museum and Alexandros Soultzos Museum, Athens; National Pinacotheca, Athens, Museum of Modern Art, Andros, Greece; Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Fundación Botero, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogota; Museo de Medellín, Medellin, Colombia; Museo de Ponce, Puerto Rico; museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague; Benaki Museum.
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