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Balancing painting (and) action

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Balancing painting (and) action

Capturing
Expressionistic painting is not an obvious case nowadays. In fact, no expressive process seems to be easy, taking into account the broader situations and conditions (personal, political, social and everyday ones) which are mainly focused and based on abstinence and on the rationalization of expressiveness.
For this reason, observing Christina Foitou’s paintings, one gets impressed by the apparent fearlessness and expressive power of the works. She is not afraid of applying wild lines, of the form’s strong plasticity, of each component’s explicit use. The only (and maybe lonely at times) descriptive element in most of her works remains the human figure, sometimes clear, sometimes abstract and faded, however dominant in every way.
The technical part of her paintings is interesting first of all thanks to the usage of colors. In a particular way, and despite the spontaneous and gestural application of the paint, the harmony is kept and the contrasting colors are balanced thanks to the ocher on the surfaces. The use of patina smoothes the overall picture of the works and relieves any tension, it implies a kind of underground tranquility.
Another dominant feature in Foitou’s paintings is the sense of motion: in both the gesture and the final result, movement is obvious and consistent. Still, balance is a notable characteristic, due to the simplicity of the overall management. Similarly, all the figures depicted are approached in a psychographic way. Postures, gestures, looks, all are involved in a powerful way; firstly through an existential spirit and secondly by achieving the insight of tranquility in the synthesis.
This duality -calmness and tension, explosiveness, but also affection-is perhaps the most intriguing part of her works; it resembles a noble and essentially expressionistic inherent approach of life itself.

Αction
Foitou’s artwork evolves gradually to another medium, beyond the two-dimensional field of painting. It is evolving to performance, a remarkable medium that complements with her painting. Foitou is experiencing, assimilating and reusing the motion through a simultaneous and parallel practical process. She employs the dance elements and the psychological tension that creates a performance, capturing them on painting. This spontaneous dialogue-choreography between the artist and the performer, between the motion of painting and dancing, confirms the artist’s intentions regarding painting itself.
What is notable in this from-performance-to-painting process is what actually remains; and that is basically her consistency on the concept of her oeuvre: keeping alive the body element in every way. She finally manages to build a bond between painting and performance, following the heritage of expressionistic painting tradition.

Αttitude
If an attribute in Christina Foitou’s work is important, that is her methodology. She creates her works –with any kind of expressive medium she chooses- in sections. It is a productive process, an evolutionary research, as every achievement gradually leads to the next. It functions as a filter for each maturity conquest: from the two-dimensional canvas, to the use of motion and then to an appropriation of the performance through painting. This way and once more, she manages to constitute the balances in her work.
Finally, creating artworks in series suggests a coherent attitude to the artistic expression itself. It is a clear indication of a well structured productive process, a denotation of creative evolution.
If nothing else, the gradual maturity for a creator is a great challenge, at times when evolution seems to be an inaccessible condition. And for what is obvious through Foitou’s oeuvre, this route seems to be not only open, but also truly promising.

Areti Leopoulou
Art historian-Curator


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