There is another world enclosed in this world, our own
by Marilena Z. Cassimatis
“…the line is the feeling, from a soft thing,
a dreamy thing, to something hard,
something arid, something lonely,
something ending, something beginning”.
In her previous exhibition macro-micro-cosmos, Denny Theocharakis, by means of her clean-cut script and by drawing incessantly with ink on long rolls of papers which she brought along from her travels in the Far East, successfully articulated an interesting, fresh, absolutely distinct personal language. The structure of shapes, the vertical volumes developing like imaginary geological formations with numerous micro-elements hovering in the void, the archetypal figures of houses nesting on remote, one might say, planets, epitomize her particular, personal language, her own individual style, akin to an account of a bizarre world, drawn through with the clarity of an existing one and in parallel proportion with the aesthetic meditation of the East. It resembles an exercise of retreatism.
In our meta-modern era, amidst the invidious fluidity of the “creative obscurity”, it is no easy task at all to articulate an intense individualized visual idiom in a manner so as to render the transition convincing. It requires isolation, focus and profound self-confidence in order for the new achievement to be expediently interpreted, to become “natural” and en-thralling within the visual frame. We appreciate in particular Denny Theocharakis’s choice not only to busy herself with the neglected genre of drawing but also to excel in it and to surprise with an unusual density of script that has been deposited with patience and dedication while she also assumes the responsibility to thematically introduce us into the complex course required by the cohesive reading of the material: a tough, demanding choice, all the more so if it is taken into account that the much more approachable depiction of human figure is avoided for the sake of the theme of a dreamy scenery in which the actors are towering rocks, hanging in an agonizing universe where the horror vacui is the predominant feeling. It requires time to examine the painter’s dense script, whereby the microscopic is weighed against the macroscopic; the rationally structured construction against its annulment that in a new phase is reinstated in the sphere of the rational and develops foundations, always hooked up in the air. (Take your Time, fellow art lovers!)
During the process of drawing there seem to be no errors and, if there are, they are to be incorporated into what’s linearly right; the course has to be unfailing, it has to be constantly watched, often tyrannically but also soothingly, for the painter’s wish is to make it worth our while. If in this World fleeing is harder than staying, life becomes hard to bear. Hard as it may be, still the decision to retreat to those new places leads to more nightmarish ways of life. However, Denny Theocharakis takes us by the hand in order to wander around in a lonely world, in a world she created with infinite patience, will and understanding, by testifying – not always openly – her own tough, but still redeeming, suggestions. It goes without saying that the delightful sight will reward us. It is up to us to follow it.
The Running – The Mountain – The Tree
Denny Theocharakis loves running in the mountains. A very important part in the painter’s life starts when she takes off her pumps, trades them for sneakers and set about running upon the mountains much like a performing athlete. While running amidst the unstructured nature, she draws upon images and thoughts, whereby the fast-track visual emotion is transfigured from physical exercise to a meditating, mentally liberating creation for the sake of her art. What makes her see the mountains and trees as archetypal symbols is the act of running, not the probing, static gaze in front of an easel set up somewhere in nature, brushes in hand and paints inside the painter’s case, as it used to be done in the old days: “The Cosmic Tree is the cult concept identifying the Holy Tree with the Cosmos. Gigantic in size, its roots are buried deep into the heart of the earth, while its top reaches for the sky. It is the axis of the world (axis mundi). It is the symbol of Life, the symbol of Cosmos, associated both with the Tree of Life and with the sinful Tree of Knowledge.” All this is well-known and rather well-worn bibliographical information.
Still, Denny Theocharakis also takes down notes of the fast-track events which she lays out as the basics for several of her works; densely written lines in Japanese ink as a starting point of illustrating what’s essential emerging from movement. Erratic images in the beginning, balanced metaphors and metonymies of the natural environment that charmed her, later on. Images not haphazardly “seized” by the eye. They are, more than others, attributed to an evident, or at least clandestine, discourse with the aesthetic thought of the Far East, as we are taught to call it succinctly.
“Indeed, the Tree and the Mountain may give you strength to move on, it (the Tree) may become a lonely human figure. You may look at it as a human being encompassing many of its properties. You may look at is as something friendly. You may look at it through the destructive might of the rooting leading civilizations to disaster. Precisely like a man: Will it bear fruits? Will it create? Will it destroy? It’ll do everything. “There are her own very words, not at all contradicting or obscure, interpreting to some extent her choices. The anthropomorphic, unshakably structured tree, with its pasty, monochromatic acrylics, within the delicate work of the painter and draughtsman is a mighty concoction that is not always easy to read, for behind it the tree rather hides than reveals some well-hidden worlds to be explored. Through the use of her novel materials, primarily color, the painter positions herself around a new interesting axis vis-à-vis landscape that along with drawing is equally forlorn in our times, rendering it with abundant motion, energy, inspiration and concern.
The way Denny Theocharakis reused for her own visual journey the old blueprint papers that she found in the ransacked car assembly factory in Volos, and through here recent work and by following her own, discreet codes, she composes new worlds, whilst she bears in mind our own world, this one, down here.