Artist Statement

My exposure to Greek Orthodox culture came at an early age, and I have since been attracted to the art and culture of the Byzantine era of the Roman Empire. It was not an intellectual process that convinced to me study Byzantine art, I was drawn intuitively and instinctively to study these ancient techniques with a nun in a convent in Hania, a town on the Greek isle of Crete.

My art takes as its starting point not the ‘isms of the last century, or the post-modern movements of our age, but the beautiful art of the Byzantines. One of my main influences is Italian Renaissance, in particular, Giotto, I am fascinated by how he was able to transform Byzantine icons into a completely new and different style.

Being a wife, and the mother of two children, I tend to paint those values that relate to the human condition, birth, mother-love, forgiveness, knowledge, justice, respect and peace. The more abstract arrangement of the pictorial surface of the Byzantine artist, besides its aesthetic attraction, allows me to use the symbols of the early Christian Church to express those eternal values which I feel are as important to our modern sensitivity as there were for late antiquity.

At the same time as I have been painting icons I have produced a series of floral oil paintings combing Italian Renaissance techniques with Byzantine abstraction, the resulting images seem to create an effect of peace and serenity on the viewer, and I would like to think that they represent a place where we can escape from the stresses of everyday life and retreat to a simpler time where forgotten values are embraced.

“embracing forgotten values”

Marinella Owens