There is a familiar quality to Miriam Mc Connon Papageorgiou ‘s recent work, like they communicate something that is personal to us. Her drawings, large or small are dependent on patient observational skills and an attention to detail. The work is hugely atmospheric and exudes a nostalgia that is both beautiful and sad.
In this exhibition,” Traces of a life”, Miriam has taken her inspiration for this series of drawings from an old Cypriot house that has recently being abandoned. On regular visits to the house she has recorded domestic scenes using charcoal on paper. These images all convey simple scenes containing the personal possessions and objects that belonged to the family who once lived in this home. It is the simplicity of these domestic scenes that touch us and hint at the complex emotions that are evoked through the memory of simple and mundane everyday life.
In these domestic scenes, the artist highlights the pattern of objects, in some cases extending the pattern across the paper, until the pattern becomes the dominant part of the drawing. It is as if the artist wishes to give these simple scenes a precious, sacred status. The use of heavy pattern and decoration is reminiscent of the old manuscripts and Japanese prints that have had such an influence on Miriam’s work.
The medium of drawing was an obvious choice for the artist to articulate these highly emotive domestic scenes. The tonal qualities of charcoal on paper give the images a sense of history, a sense of belonging to the past. The absence of colour gives rawness to the images, like they have been stripped bare. An intimacy is created between artist and subject through the intense process of observation and articulation using only line and shade. A truth is revealed through this process of drawing that has its own entity.
The exhibition also includes scenes from the Green Line Partition in Nicosia. Miriam focuses on the physical qualities of the partition and the patterns that are formed from the rows of sandbags and barrels and wire fencing. Miriam has incorporated the pattern from the wire fence into some of her drawings, behind which these domestic scenes become encased or trapped. In doing so she allows the political partition to be mirrored by the more emotive domestic partition that holds so many of us in the past.
This series of drawings make us question the power that nostalgia has over us and its necessity in our lives.
Miriam Mc Connon Papageorgiou was born in Dublin, Ireland. She graduated from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland in 1999 with a B.A in Fine Art Painting. In 2000 she completed a post-graduate diploma at the Cyprus College of Art, Lemba, Cyprus. It was then that she met her husband, a Cypriot from Paphos and they went to live in Ireland from the following three years.
In Ireland Miriam worked in a well known studio called The Phoenix studio, with twenty other artists from around the world. She exhibited in galleries in Ireland and in London, England. She also worked as a tutor for the National gallery of Ireland, teaching painting and drawing. She also became involved in many community arts projects, teaching art in inner city communities, nursing homes for the elderly and a clinic for recovering drug addicts.
In 2003 she returned to Cyprus me her husband and began working at a studio in Paphos. She has exhibited in Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia and Paphos. Recently she also had group exhibitions in Ireland, New York and London. She has had three solo exhibitions, one in may 2008 at The Lemon Street gallery and one in 2008 and 2010 at The Apocalypse gallery, Nicosia..
Miriam’s paintings can be found in public and private collections in Ireland, Australia, USA, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, UK and Cyprus.
In autumn 2009 her work was purchased by the Municipal art gallery in Nicosia and is now part of the Cypriot State collection.