THE INHABITED LANDSCAPE
The mountain; the climb; reaching the mountain top, the cloud.
The veins of the mountain, the vertigo of the precipice, the winding paths, the slopes.
Consecutive stone folds.
Stone, stone, just stone. Rolling rocks.
Notes from Nature, after an avid photoshoot
The landscape is not picturesque,
Τhe simplest things become unreal. The cloud sits on the mountain tops or it runs in a circle, around them.
The perfect horizontal line of the sea horizon.
The wild landscape is fertilized through inhabitation.
The bread basket, is life itself.
The dressing up of the girls.
Wedding, birth, the vow. The icon stands, the costumes, the ritual.
Man confronting his limits.
How can life and the infinite be painted
Without tricks, without preconceptions, with awe and pathos?
The ideas recede, embarrassed. The scenery imposes itself triumphantly.
Everything begins again from scratch.
ON THE ROAD
In motion, on the asphalt, on dirt roads, by car at high speed or even a slower one. There, the eyes do the job.
Traveling on foot awakes other senses.
Lots of images: distant, intangible views or close, touchable ones, full of scents and vibrations.
The landscape is of monumental dimensions, in well-balanced compositions.
The landscape multiplied like a frame. In the center, the illusion of truth: the asphalt or, elsewhere, the truce zone between seawater and land.
The landscape deployed.
Dense parts of the most humble nature-material associate with polished images of landscape in alternating motion.
For the spectator to dip within the landscape, to be “given” the space needed, through and, at the same time, beyond the painting practice.
As in the aquarelles of the Chinese hermit-painters.
Meet no one on the empty mountain.
Hear only echoes of men’s voices.
Light falls through the deep wood,
Shines softly on the green moss.
The stops on Mato Ioannidou’s artistic course are the result of many years of research, dedicated in translating or transforming the world into a personal plastic art “text”. The artist “writes”, with reference to man and nature. As landscapes unfold before our eyes, every element of the Greek land –from the sublime mountain to the humble wheat plant- acquires harmony and spirituality, and becomes a symbol of the human soul.
The wildness of the landscape, the composition of the blue sky with the clouds, the stones, the weeds, the mountains, the road, the nature are always the inner “space”, the personal experience, the amalgam of sensations which become the starting point of creation. The simplicity of nature’s composition is deconstructed into fragments, into images divided into diptychs and triptychs, for them to be recomposed and to reveal “lavishly” to the spectator the composition of the whole. The great Chinese painter and poet of the 8th century, Wang Wei, in search of the essence of the landscape, argues that nature reveals itself with a simple “sound”: “ Whoever has an incisive look, considers first the manifestation of spirits. Then, he distinguishes between what is clear and what is blurred […]. He settles the majestic behavior of the numerous mountain tops. Too much leads to confusion, too little provokes relaxation.»
In LANDSCAPES, precision in depiction coexists with blurred representations in a three-dimensional, visual “whole”. Surfaces full of light and thousands of variations constitute the personal way of looking into the mythological nature. Very often spontaneous gestures of color, abstract traces trespass the representation, involving the spectator into a game of mystery as to how far, free gesture of expression can go. Mato Ioannidou is daring! And she intervenes in nature in a dynamic, aggressive, almost feminine way. She fully responds to the power of colors, which allows her to reveal the inner sense of nature, the personal daydreaming of the beyond, where the duality of the element of Apollo and of Dionysus –in the way Nietzsche sees it- becomes an important element of the work as far as it reveals the its inner contrasts…
In the “triptych” shape – light – color, Ioannidou presents nature’s hedonism through images of direct observation, images of truth, infiltrated by memories of familiar places.
Faithfull to the tradition of topography in Greece, she often explores –in the traces of Dimitris Pikionis- the realistic elements of people and customs of each place –and notably of Karpathos- looking into specific local and traditional memories and situations. Pikionis himself, in his text “Sentimental topography” (1935) writes: “This peasant’s dress has pleats that, the way they float around the angles, depict the mountains’ shapes on the ground; and its woven decoration, down there, looks like a frieze”.
In the paintings, a traditional, highly decorative charm is interjected between earth and sky, in a magical way, while women of the village are floating under the shade of the mountains. The surrealistic relationship of “the trace” and the place is a reflective statement of the artist in order for us to reconsider the relationship between memory and heritage and the morphological and spiritual changes inflicted on Greek land every day. In such a context, the icon stands in the paintings, look like an answer to the cynical dimension of modern life. The archetypal power of offering and the mystical semiology of ceremony are elements of redemption, purification and creative communication.
The study of nature is not performed through impressionistic rules, that is, through analysis of light and composition. The LANDSCAPES are works with immediacy and precision –regarding images, color and emotions- in which the spectator feels the osmosis with the ground, the light, the trees and the ground of islands and slopes. The evocative conception and the quality of each element constitute an eternal truth. The details and the small forms of Matos’ Ioannidou compositions stress even more the immensity of the landscape: the place that gives birth to everything.