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.
Of this art of the Byzantine era (350-1453) less than 1% has survived to our day, and to see this art you must travel to the Orient, but it is my belief that the spirit of that age is still with us. Otto Demus in his book “Byzantine Art and the West” claims that if the Byzantine artist wanted to they could also have used perspective in their art, but didn’t because they thought it would distract from the essential message. It is these clear timeless messages that I continue to paint today.
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”