George Kazazis

West to East

A journey of pure painting

12 Nov – 7 Dec 2019 Athens TEXT BY Ilias Papailiakis

George Kazazis completed his studies at the Athens School of Fine Arts in 1983. The work of his diploma presentation was the starting point of his artistic journey.

Untitled, oil on canvas, 100 x 150 cm, 2019

Untitled,
oil on canvas,
100 x 150 cm,
2019

His first big size paintings have intense dominant forms, abundant material and are rich in textures and colors.

In 1985, the artist had already introduced the use of computers and photomechanical reproduction of image in his research and had progressed in the analysis of all parts regarding the question of the painting space.

Breathe in Breathe Out, oil on canvas, 40 x 60 cm, 2018

Breathe in Breathe Out,
oil on canvas,
40 x 60 cm,
2018

Having contemporary references, avoiding stylization and mannerism, he successively completed series of different works based on research and the possibilities of expression of his artistic style at every given moment.

Nowadays he presents his new series of works under the title"West to East"and the subtitle "A journey into pure painting".

The works are painted from 2017 to 2019. These works are made with oil colors on canvas, but also pencil or ink on paper.

Untitled, oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm, 2019

Untitled,
oil on canvas,
100 x 100 cm,
2019

The artist often paints from sunset to sunrise. But watching the artist closely in his studio and observing the conditions under which his work is being created, the title gets additional meanings. For George Kazazis painting is intertwined with his family and personal life. In his case, life and art share the same table and the same chair. His work is result and process at the same time, declining and rising in equal parts, coming from his origins, research -loving, relentless.

In his new series of works, he mostly presents square and rectangular paintings. In the square-shaped pieces, he composes his painting space with large forms of color which are usually compact and distinct from from the painting's background. Yet the background often appears through vertical or sharp shapes, creating gaps, tensions of space and identification of levels. All correlations in the painting are exhaustively processed, giving a personal final result to the surface, which sometimes seems smooth and calm and sometimes dense and heavy.

Dissimilar textures, all worked meticulously, create a wealth of feelings, both as details and as a whole.

Untitled, oil on canvas, 150 x 100 cm, 2019

Untitled,
oil on canvas,
150 x 100 cm,
2019

The works have close and distant points of view. The rectangular ones look mostly like compositions of different spaces. The large colored patches are less visible, but the presence of the successive gaps is intense and the coral-like spreads of smaller rhythmic elements resemble warm, dense matter, moving slowly and being defined through conflicts and acceptance. The partial elements are exhaustively processed in these paintings too, creating tensions, sometimes centrifugal and sometimes centripetal, since these shapes are curves themselves or products of curves.

The rich chromatic style increases the intensity but also the synergy of different levels in the painting space. The structure is complex, exceptionally intricate, an experiment at the limits of the formation of the painted surface.

All the new works originate from an extremely demanding post-semiotic process and constitute their surface, meaning their word, where each element barely touches the other.

Smaller size works are also extremely complex in their meanings. With tremendous dexterity in the use of color and a deep understanding of his achievements in analysis and composition, the artist paints shades of feelings, depths and fields.

In the pencil or ink drawings he uses a more representative technique, the result being remarkable and dense. It seems like he reveals his secrets to us, or he makes riddles of what he has already disclosed. So, it is a journey into pure painting.

Untitled, oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm, 2017

Untitled,
oil on canvas,
60 x 80 cm,
2017

It is the projection and imprint of the inner context on surface, of that specific unrepeatable moment.

George Kazazis knows how to use time. He lets himself wander. Methodical, he works intensively, quietly and systematically.

But he mainly plays. He plays with his certainties and his ambivalences. He plays with the horizon, with fluidity and volatility. He plays with colors, textures, meanings, he defines locations and territories.

Sunrise to sunset, destiny is working

Lacrimosa, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm, 2018

Lacrimosa,
oil on canvas,
60 x 60 cm,
2018

Untitled, oil on canvas, 35 x 50 cm, 2019

Untitled,
oil on canvas,
35 x 50 cm,
2019

Untitled, oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm, 2019

Untitled,
oil on canvas,
100 x 100 cm,
2019

Untitled, oil on canvas, 100 x 150 cm, 2019

Untitled,
oil on canvas,
100 x 150 cm,
2019

Untitled, oil on canvas, 100 x 150 cm, 2019

Untitled,
oil on canvas,
100 x 150 cm,
2019

Untitled, oil on canvas, 55 x 75 cm, 2018

Untitled,
oil on canvas,
55 x 75 cm,
2018