The white marble figures of Greek sculptor Michelis can be gauged in their similarities and departures from his nation’s ancient style, with subjects culled from mythology while his shapes mark a modern departure from form. His titles earmark familiar, paradigmatic characters from the classical period of ancient Greece’s art history, aligning Michelis with a very formal, figurative tradition rooted in the study of anatomy. Meanwhile, his faces and bodies are decidedly modern, stripped and stylized, over-emphasizing facial features into stretched caricature, flattening lines and ridges into swooping surfaces.
These tragicomic caricatures never spill over into parody though. Michelis’ works maintain a somber gravity, uncomfortable forms whose tortured glares evoke a grand melancholy. Ultimately, Michelis transcends the dimensions of classical Greek sculpture, but nonetheless achieves its expressive eloquence. Fantastic, mythic characters reflect identifiable human desires and foibles, but the elegance of Michelis’ forms – the graceful manipulation of that epic material – continually evokes the weight of tradition.