Art Medium: Acrylic & mixed media on canvas
Size: 61 cm x 61 cm
PENELOPE AND THE CHIOTISSA: On The House
Penelope the patient, loyal and determined wife of Odysseus. She is joined by a young woman from the island of Chios; the site of a devastating massacre by the Ottomans during the Greek war of independence and the subject of many European paintings.
Both women are youthful and look dignified. They know something of suffering, patience and of the power the sea has: to carry people home and to divide, seduce and betray. Two women, young though worldly, perhaps they do more than just console each other. Something silent and strong passes between them.
There is intimacy, mirroring and an introspection; there is space between but there is no room for others right now: Full House. This is their time to choose, forging a friendship, a bond and maybe even plotting or about to burst into laughter, one of those infectious private jokes that makes it even more transforming, unforgettable.
The Penelope (left) was initially modelled on the female figure in (an English Neoclassical painter) John William Godword’s THE BELVEDERE. The Chiotissa was then intended to be an exact mirror image of her, and painted only after I completed Penelope. The process of copying led to altering some of her features to create her companion, with characteristics of her own. This creative process further cements the deep ties and unexpected relationship between the two iconic women.
The subjects for these paintings are given the opportunity to retell their stories in new ways. These archetypes are both universal and Hellenic, belong to the diasporic collective and are part of my personal inner world.
Artistically I noticed a gradual evolution from an iconic and abstract figurative language to more realistic rendering of the human figure. So too the series and its subject matter is sure to continue and evolve as it has stylistically.