Out & About

June 12, 2014

Aegean on Champlain

WESTPORT — A taste of Greece with a twist of Iran awaits in the Atea Ring Gallery in Westport.

Elena Borstein’s “Greek Paintings,” works created between 1974 and 2004, are on exhibit.

This is not the first time Ring has shown these works, but she has pared down the show to four paintings, grouped with her exquisite Iranian “Gulistan Rose Garden” rug on the main gallery floor.


The 40-year, sun-drenched odyssey began for Borstein in 1974 New York City. She was painting and teaching at York College, City University of New York.

“During the summer, I traveled to Greece with my backpack, and when I got to the port (Piraeus) near Athens, I got on the first ferry, which happened to be going to Thira (Santorini), an island in a group called the Cyclades in the southern Aegean Ocean,” Borstein said.

She had previously toured Europe and Mexico, where the houses were the subject of her 1973 debut exhibition.

“When I came to Greece, it was love at first sight — the landscape, the architecture, the blue of the Aegean sea and the very special quality of the light reflecting off the water,” Borstein said.


The paintings in the show are “White Gate,” “Thira Haze,” “Yellow Courtyard” and “Folegandros.”

With the exception of “Thira Haze,” a pastel on paper, the others are acrylic on canvas.

The timeless paintings are luminous with the light of Grecian skies and reflected light off surfaces, natural and man-made. The Greek landscape and architecture impacted her aesthetic.

“I was especially taken with the white cubist architecture of the Cyclades, and it was that which influenced me for several years to use a limited palette of grey, blues and white,” Borstein said.


The island of Thira (or Santorini) was a favorite.

“The main towns are built along a rocky spine with steep cliffs on one side facing the sea,” she said. “It is rumored to be the site of an ancient volcano.

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