Multiplicity: The Phil Joanou Experience
Mul·ti·plic·i·ty : a large number or great variety; having numerous aspects or functions
A retrospective of renowned Pasadena Artist Phil Joanou will be exhibited at the gallery this coming September 2009. Joanou displays allegorical themes on a large scale basis. His figurative work illustrates the human condition that is full of wonder. Using both classical and contemporary references, Joanou narrates complex psychological and situational issues with his figures as the central focus. "My first influence is the world as it is now—I record and document what I know about contemporary culture and my work has been influenced by many aspects of modern society including film, advertising, music, news and graphic design." -Phil Joanou.
Phil Joanou classifies his work into different series usually depicting either "Women" or "Allegory." The women Joanou paints are not your stereotypical beauties, however, through the use of extremely feminine surroundings, wallpaper and robes full of blooming flowers, the beauty of the atmosphere reflects upon the women and their inner, eternal brilliance. Their internal emotions are shown through expressive facial gestures that range from contempt to content. Joanou celebrates women in their natural emotive states.
Allegorical themes are the framework of many of Phil Joanou's paintings, combining familiar yet restructured subject matter with a creative and unique style. "The originality of Joanou's work is that he depicts profound visual subjects peppered with tongue-in-cheek humor and superb artistic skill in a style that is all his own." Art critic, Roberta Carasso, Ph.D. Often times when left without a model, Joanou looks no farther than to a mirror using himself as a reference for his figures developing a "Where's Waldo" type diversion for viewer's to try and spot Joanou in his own work: just another sprinkle of the cunning humor he provides.
Joanou's regeneration of themes can be seen in his painting "American Gothic," based on the original painting by Grant Wood. Joanou maintains the same format placement of the original, yet romanticizes the couple in the painting by dressing them up in formal attire and adding a mysterious luster of an Egyptian pyramid in place of the gothic house found in Wood's image. Joanou's modern interpretation of "American Gothic" demonstrates the transcendence of time. There is a need for change and reinterpretation as Joanou proves through his work. "My references to classical mythology and literature enable me to link the old with the new. Over time, these influences, often at odds with one another, have resulted in a tense stalemate between historical/classical ideas and modern reality." -Phil Joanou.
Phil Joanou's work will inspire, provoke, engage and mesmerize.