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Spyros Kolyvas’ water-colours

Spyros Kolyvas’ water-colours

Landscape is not necessarily a transfer of the reality. It may be above all the translation of internal experience and the expression of sentiments. In this case, the artist’s aim is neither to reproduce nature nor to imitate its characteristics in order to achieve its most faithful depiction. His aim is to discover and reveal internal structures and particular characteristics, to record vibrations, to decode natural forces.

These basic elements are clearly found in Spyros Kolyvas’ work. Exclusively landscape painter, his aim is by no means to reproduce the natural landscape on the painting surface. He starts from that, having the sparks and the will to move deeper in order to interpret its character and not to describe it. He is not interested in its detailed depiction but in its physiognomy, he does not reproduce pictures as if he was taking a photo, but he records internal processes. In this way he interprets the natural landscape, and this interpretation is not based mainly on its objective reproduction but on the subjective expression of the sentiments that it generates. This natural area, in which the artist is engaged, often stops being recognizable and acts as an ensemble of forces which determines the final result.

Composition, coluor and light are in the base of all these attempts. Composition, which often acts with its almost abstract character and its dynamism , it provides the necessary balance in order to show off the space’s physiognomy besides specific features, supplementary themes and references in the specific. Colour, always emotive, hardly ever describes in a realistic way but implies. Usually used on big surfaces, it transfers, besides all the others, symbolic features while trying to detect this particular character that the space possesses. Therefore the artist transfers though his eyes the expression from outside to inside and transforms in an instinctive way the external stimulants in internal experiences that the landscape causes to him. Light, with its particular role, presents all those special features which embody the natural area. Using it with a wide range of lyrical references, it shows off its function. Sometimes rich and optimistic, sometimes limited and melancholic, it gives us the opportunity to wander in the most different appearances of nature.

In conclusion, we can deduce that Kolyvas is not interested in the special features of landscape, whichever landscape. He may start from the specific but he does not stick to it. He seeks for universal elements in order to interpret it, he moves beyond the specific in order to explore it, he penetrates it in order to interpret it, he struggles with his materials in order to embody it. And finally, he ends up in expressive results which transform the visual reality and the external appearance of his landscapes in a lyrical song of light and colour, in a rich voice of sensitivity, in a harmony full of rhythm.

Thanos Christou

Assistant Professor of History of Art

University of Ioannina

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