John Tsombikos: BORF Show at Lazarides
The conceit of this show, which is of abstract expressionism done with social themes, an African American edge, and a few personal tributes, stretch thin rather quickly. The themes are too rangey for a single canvas, and while Tsombikos’ paintings entertain with wit and mastery of minutiae, one senses evasion rather than concentration. His talent does allow him a visual pun or two, like Pollock’s drip paintings done with spray paint, or his signature filling half a canvas in dry homage to Rothko. Tsombikos’ substitutes blend argument for gags, and thus create an easy escape.
Apparent tribute to his suicide-victim friend Bobby L Fisher, the Fontana of Youth series – with bus seats slashed and peppered with wounds – are an embarrassment, particularly for how facile they are. It’s hard to believe Tsombikos: each part of his work is laid out plain to see, yet the effect is of obstacles to whatever might be lurking at the painting’s heart. Meanwhile the artist has too much time and space on his hands because his effects are so easy. Most canvases are unresolved and garish. There is a sense that Tsombikos is daring himself to see what he can get away with.
Tsombikos is a talented painter but the work exhibited at Lazarides does not entirely do him justice. The current series is obvious, and one suspects a bid for attention might be a factor. There is better work in him.
John Tsombikos: BORF Show is at Lazarides until 21st December 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.