is not intended as an exhaustive listing of exhibitions I
have participated in.
The first exhibition in which I was a participant was a joint exhibition at Roen Art Gallery (a small local suburban gallery) with school friend artist Heather Robinson in June 1981. My paintings were only exhibited once more in the eighties, in 1985. My works were rejected by all the commercial Melbourne galleries I approached in that decade. One gallery at that time advised me that the art in vogue was "neo expressionist pop op art", which mine clearly ws not. I then exhibited with the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria from 1992 to 1996.
Since 1995 I have exhibited with Roar Studios, an artist run gallery. My first solo was at Roar in June 1999. My works were also included in the Roar stand of the 1996 Australian Contemporary Art Fair 5 (the Australian Contemporary Art Fair is now known as the Melbourne Art Fair). In the nineties, I did one better than the previous decade: I was rejected not only by all the commercial galleries I approached in Melbourne, but also all of the commercial galleries approached in Sydney. In Australia if it's not decor, Australiana, or the faux avant garde, it will not sell!
.... when art is defined by the (art) market it is no longer art that is sold, but a commodity intended to pay for the wages, rent, overheads of the venture (gallery) in question. This means that the gallery is not going to exhibit anything that might conflict with the art orthodoxy of the day. When the 'artist' deliberately sets out to create work that caters to market appeal, for the sole purpose it being sold, instead of expressing an idea, they are reduced to the status of artisans, not artists. Regardless of whatever talent these artisans may possess they instead create objects d'art, not art. The creation of such pseudo-art usually entails a considerable degree of self-censorship. It is 'art' that has only come about by researching what buyers want. High art has nothing to do with what buyers want, for the prospective buyer is merely looking for a work of craft that serves merely as an adjunct to their other decor. Art created with the tastes of the prospective buyer reduces the artist to an artisan whose work contributes nothing to the sum total of human endeavour.
11 - 30
Exhibition of paintings with the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria. City Square, Melbourne: 11-30 March 1994
(featuring paintings from 1989 -1993). The city square was demolished shortly afterwards..... not, I am assured, because my paintings were exhibited there!
Two of my works in the Roar stand at the ACAF of 1996. A mixup meant that my name did not appear in the list of exhibitors at this show, even though my works were exhibited.
June 1 - 13 1999
Photograph of the opening of the 1999 exhibition at Roar Studios. The exhibition was entitled "THE SURREAL AND FANTASTIC: the paintings and computer art of DEMETRIOS VAKRAS".
This show was, despite limited sales, a very big affair. Roar Studios was divided into two exhibition spaces. My partner Lee-Anne Raymond was also showing her works in the smaller exhibition space at Roar Studios too. There was a massive turnout for the opening with hardly enough room to move!
Roar Studios was an artist run space in Fitzroy (in Melbourne). A few months prior to the June 1999 exhibition Vali Myers had exhibited her works there (April 1999). A few years later Roar was no more (it was redeveloped for residential use).
17 February - 16 March
of paintings at the CASspace, Collins St. Melbourne: 17 February
2000 - 16 March 2000
(featuring paintings & digital prints from 1996 - 1999)
exhibited in group show featuring emerging artists at
Mansour + Hill in LaTrobe Street in Melbourne's CBD. The
show ran from
31 July - 11 August 2001. Fortunately no works were sold
buyers could have made substantial savings as the
Gallery had listed three
of the four paintings' prices without including the
and/or GST! I would have received around half my asking
price .... meaning
half of the (approx.) $2.80 per hour my paintings sell
Amalgam - duo exhibition of the works of Lee-Anne Raymond and Demetrios Vakras at Melbourne Gallery 4Cats, 9 April to 27 April 2002.
Four of my paintings travelled to Chicago, USA to appear
exhibition organised by Veronika Kotlajich of Echo
Galley (Chicago) for
Halloween. My works appeared alongside those of other
artists, such as
echo gallery late evening... showing the Chicago skyline
Echo Gallery directors, Derek (left) Veronika (right), with Demetrios and partner Lee-Anne (centre).
POST SCRIPT: after the USA EXHIBITION
OF ART TO AUSTRALIA
exhibition in 2004
photomontages were exhibited in a group show at CCP
before it closed down.
fiasco of Guildford Lane Gallery of Melbourne
This exhibition had been arranged to coincide with the Dalí exhibition held in Melbourne in 2009. Much money was spent by myself and my co-exhibitor Lee-Anne Raymond to make this show a success. This has turned out to be a waste of money. The owner, Robert Cripps, had, at the time of writing this, still not paid us for work that sold during the show [payment was eventually made around 6 weeks later - after we sought legal advice].
During the course of the exhibition he, by his actions, circumvented our capacity to promote our work. His idea of a contract, we were to soon discover, is that he believes he can unilaterally insert conditions subsequent to any original agreement. The result of his actions was the sabotage of the exhibition. Cripps turned the exhibition into an expensive debacle for us, but he made a profit on it.
Below: a photograph of some of the works exhibited at the June-July exhibition in 2009. The exhibition was of never-before exhibited works by myself and Lee-Anne Raymond. A fully illustrated catalogue was published to accompany the exhibition. [the catalogue can be purchased here]. Essays which are featured in the catalogue were pinned alongside our artwork in the exhibition.
As I write in the publication Humanist Transhumanist which accompanied the exhibition, I oscillate from incongruous juxtapositions to symbolism with my art.[a sufficient explanation can be read here] Political commentary is de riguer in art; from Delacroix's celebratory Liberty Leading the People, to condemnatory works such as Goya's The Third of May 1808.
My art is a continuum of such political commentary which is also part of the repertoire of historical surrealism. For example, Max Ernst's Europe After the Rain and Dalí's Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War). (My commentary on the latter work appears on p. 19 of Humanist Transhumanist.)
And, consitent with surrealism's early roots, I am critical of religion, ALL religion without exception. In a country like Australia that boasts of its secularity such criticism you might imagine would be welcome. However, this has turned out to NOT be the case.
Our exhibition was condemend by Cripps not because I was critical of Christianity, or Judaism or of Zoroastrianism, but because I criticised Islam at all. It turns out to be, as I wrote in my essay of 1980, a case of The Instance of Grievance when confronted with the Falsehood of Truth, the title to a drawing of mine from 1978 when I was aged 15. [This essay can be found here]. Cripps' reaction is about shooting the messenger because what he held to be true turns out to be a lie. With his lie exposed he simply shoots the messenger. To explain.
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