The gallery will feature Gioka’s most recent paintings and works from earlier periods in her career.
Marianna Gioka’s works have, from very early days, been distinguished by an extraordinary sensitivity to her materials. Her wide variety of mark making has a balance and harmony whichever gesture she calls upon. Initially, her interest in landscape used an idea of architecture to provide the structure –an earlier series was inspired by Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ while other pictures include tiny landscapes, which call to mind Vermeer’s ‘View of Delft’. Gradually however, her paintings have acquired greater freedom and her marks have become even more diversified: The gestures now floating in space. For her most recent canvases, Gioka begins by painting an abstract background, which resembles a sky scene –recalling Constable’s ‘Cloud’ pictures; after this, she begins the lengthy and extensive process of pen and brush strokes. The structure in her works appears naturally and organically from the bewildering array of marks.
What one looks for in an artist is the capacity of growth and the desire for perpetual exploration, which is relevant in Marianna Gioka’s case. Whereas for some artists, the investigation leads to frequent complete changes of direction, Gioka preserves the originality of her voice: It has never been lost but only increased in the power of her journey. Marianna Gioka’s first solo exhibition in the gallery will be a continual dialogue between present day works and pictures from earlier in her career. There is a remarkable consistency in the quality of Gioka’s output; even though the paintings have greatly evolved over the years, they remain instantaneously recognizable. Gioka’s earlier pieces still bear a strong relationship to what she is currently doing, but there is now, a newfound sense of abandon in her working process. Even her most recent paintings have undergone a change: In the beginning, the painted background had a pastel feel with subtle changes of colour, but always very light so as to give prominence to the next and fundamental stage of the painting. In the last few months however, the background has become progressively darker so that there is now a real tension between background and mark-making where before there was harmony.
Landscape is one of art’s great subjects; its history in western painting terms can be traced back to a series of frescoes in Villa Livia in Ancient Rome. From a narrative description or interpretation of reality, landscape has become a more inward looking idea, which incorporates works that could be seen as abstract but are in fact concerned, in a non descriptive way, with its essence. Marianna Gioka has gone from descriptive to imaginary landscapes and finally to what she is doing today, looking ever more inward to create ‘landscapes of the mind’.