By PETRA MASON, DEC. 2017
MIAMI, FLA. Walking in Miami's winter heat towards a slither of land between the beach and wealthy Indian Creek billionaire bunker "La Gorce" is somewhat surreal. In the part of town known as mid-beach where you never know who lives in which condo canyon. Most big buildings here are high-security and harder to get into than some small countries. At any given moment, Lil' Wayne could be speeding past en route to his sprawling bachelor pad (complete with a skate board park) or Iggy Pop may cruise by in his big black Rolls Royce or even YBA Tracey Emin – escaping the London freeze – may just be checking into her Miami apartment.
As I stomped along, quizzically seeking out Eurydice Kamvisseli at her low lying greenhouse resembling abode, the petite artist appeared like a water sprite. She was guarded by two yapping, bouncing teacup poodles who, once indoors, proceeded to wrap themselves around her bare feet, like slippers.
After we swapped notes on our mutual past lives in New York and got hopped up on Greek coffee, Eury (as her friends call her) showed me around her sunlit studio-like living space (her actual studio is in Little River, the newest, "affordable for now" artist zone). One wall brims with works the artist describes as "too tough" to sell: pleasingly abstracted, distorted female forms in mixed mediums. Close by in the corridor, large-scale soft art pieces whisper secret tales, hand-stitched onto unprimed canvas and vintage silk sourced in India some years before.
Eurydice is a woman with a past, a present, and a future--one whose story began (rather poetically) when she was born on the Greek isle of Lesbos. Miami has provided sanctuary ever since her clove-cigarette smoking arrival in the 90's--particularly since the birth of her daughter (who now goes to Bard College, just as Mom did). Miami has provided needed sanctuary to both women, since New York has turned into "a serpent eating its own tail."
Preferring not to pre-Google my subjects too much, knowing how scrappy online representations of interesting people can be, I had no idea Eurydice was also the Eurydice: a writer with a cult following, whose written work I remember as part of New York's turn-of-the-century millennium underground.
Her books, including the highly original ground-breaking book F/32, considered one of the "most dangerous novel ever written by a woman," was followed by 1999's tour of America's contemporary sexual landscape Satyricon USA. Reading these in-print only titles makes me feel more than just a pang of nostalgia for the halcyon days of the late 90's New York Girls era, when the alt-culture underworld revealed new frontiers. Things were moving forward so fast that no one would have believed how backward things would have become by 2017.
Women, media myths, and sexuality loom large as subject matter. Eurydice mulls on the constant integration and objectification of women, and on the female pleasure principle. There is a bait-and-switch aspect to her work: you get turned on and you get turned off. Large-scale wall hangings of hand-stitched female forms--a nod to all the great images of bathers in art history--are both seductive and confronting. Fellini-cast actors are cut 'n pasted into punk-ed up collages of women, all viewed through heartthrob lead Marcello's eyes (violently hacked at with scissors) while the thread of feminine embroidery stitches it all together.
Eurydice Kamvisseli's artwork can be viewed as part of the current and ongoing (through February 2018) exhibition on at the Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach. Deborah Plutzik Briggs, the Vice President for Marketing and Philanthropy at the Betsy, curated the exhibition; she has “given over pretty much all of our spaces to artists”--answering a call to put Miami artists front and center on the beach during Art Basel and beyond. WM
Cultural historian and publisher. Beefcake 100% Rare, All Natural is her first Universe title, Bettie Page Queen of Curves and Bunny Yeager's Darkroom are her Rizzoli titles. Mason edited Fall 2015 Skira/Rizzoli's Imperfect Utopia.