Ashes to ashes, Life to life.
The beginning of 2016 found me opening my new studio in Kreuzlingen, CH. My work, by inner necessity, is inevitably about man; but my inspiration has always been alimented by input from nature. A common question I was asked by people who are familiar with my work so far, was how I could go and paint in a light so different from the Greek one. Light, however, is only one, small element of the natural input that drives my thought and intuition towards image making.
I can’t help seeing in nature, allegorical presentations of all aspects of human condition. I find them in central Europe or the Middle East, as I find them in my native Aegean. Landscapes, waterscapes, the colour of the earth, the hardness of the soil, the scent of the air, the height of the trees, the way man prunes them, how things die, how life recycles itself. Wondering at the shore of Bodensee and the nearby forests, presented a new wonderland of visual experience to me. Of course, light plays an important role on what one sees when one looks. The Aegean sun washes everything with the dramatic violence of the local winds; it exposes all things and dances a frantic dance of impressions in an ever-changing symphony of light and shadows. Light around my studio by the lake is a soft breeze. An enhancer of the inner colour of things. What I perceive here is the substance of mater. Live mater in immense density.
As I wrote a friend and fellow artist, my awareness here is directed towards “the decomposing mater under my feet as I walk through the forest, the layers of undergrowth, the strata of mist and fog, the secrets of the lake bed”. Mental images, or rather visual insights, are generated because of and through this richness and depth of physicality. The notion of unceasable recycling of all natural things, as opposed to the notion of the defined beginning and end of them, appears to be of comforting value and this feeling of comfort and ease is trying to materialise in my paintings. In the process of it all, a new element has found use in my work: ash. In its lightness, its absorbing properties and its plasticity, I found an ally to pictorial practice and a powerful symbol. Its symbolic value may not be directly visual, as it is not evident those surfaces are made with ash. It has enough of an effect for me though, to manage this material in the process of creating images today.