The Colour of Joy in a Dreamy World: Artist Spotlight on Fotini Christophillis
Fotini Christophillis is a painter recently returned from New York, NY to Greenville, SC. She has an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University 2016 and BA in Studio Art and Arts Management from the College of Charleston 2008. She received two Arts Grants from the City of Charleston Cultural Affairs Office to present group exhibitions, including an exhibition as part of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. She has exhibited her work nationally in galleries in cities such as NYC, San Diego, and St. Louis as well as the Redux Contemporary Art Center and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, SC and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She is represented by Artios Gallery in New York, NY and Melange Arts in Greenville, SC.
I explore the presence and absence of figurative suggestions, eliminating specific details in order to express a dream-like snapshot from my subconscious, a kind of cinematographic film still that’s neither “here nor there”. This “in-between” space is where I currently am in these times of the pandemic, I want to see the streets alive and bustling, but there is an eeriness in the absence of people, a spaciousness with open streets, empty tables, doors wide open, but no one walking through them. This paradox drives me, and I seek to reconcile both ends of the spectrum in my work, juxtaposing bands of color with plays of light and shadow, precise hard edges, geometric forms, with improvisational and fresh brushwork that is both turbulent and free as well as controlled and sustained. Essentially, the paintings are a reflection of my current experience as I seek to understand where I am, where I am going, and how I relate to this place where I find myself in these strange times.
Fotini’s creative process
“I work primarily in oil on linen or canvas while drawing and working on paper with gouache and watercolor is important to my process. I maintain a regular studio practice of drawing from direct observation aspects from my daily life, the blasé day-to-day, small fragments, glimpses of the day that are soon to pass. This practice brings me into the present moment, informs my work through carefully observed line and spatial relationships, as my intention is to have an anchor in reality while working from my imagination. As I develop my paintings, I begin building the surface with lean layers, handling the paint with fluidity like water, while also exploring the depth and richness of oil paint through chromatic sensitivity and tonal values. In this way, I hope to bring to the viewer a sense of joy and sensual pleasure in the color itself.”
Recent work on Fotini’s #Heartlist
Recently I am inspired by the works of David Hockney, particularly his expressive use of color, light and perspective to explore his connection to a place. I am also influenced by the cinematographic quality and “snapshots” of contemporary life of Edward Hopper. And I love the sensuality of color and form and the evocative and suggestive spaces of Shara Hughes’ landscapes.
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