Looking at one of the Pepto Bismol-pink canvases of artist Athena Papadopoulos is a bit like staring into the hedonistic world of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. Papadopoulos’ mixed-media paintings, comprised of collage, illustration and materials such as bed sheets, lipstick, and hair dye, beckon the viewer to fall into a virtual wormhole of multi-layered symbols; floating shiny red lips (clipped from a fashion magazine); the serpentine trail of a Celtic arm-sleeve tattoo; a menacing tarantula at the centre of it all. It’s the very picture of a bacchanalian scene that is both beautiful and grotesque. In an era where digital reigns supreme, her work has particular resonance: nostalgia for the handmade, especially as it pertains to visual imagery, has hit a fever pitch, and Papadopoulos is clearly showing us something we haven’t seen before (or maybe we have—a throwback to the sketches and collages from the diaries of our youth).
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