Fotini Christophillis

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Out of the Burning Ashes

By Tina Christophillis

May 05th 2014


"For me, style is essentially doing things well.  If you want to be outrageous, be outrageous with style.  If you want to be restrained, be restrained with style.  One can't specifically define style.  It's like the perfume to a flower.  It's a quality you can't analyze."  -Francoise Gilot

I have recently discovered and am admiring the art of Francoise Gilot.  She is a remarkable and powerful artist who came out of the 20th century European modernist tradition.  

I love this piece, "Out of the Burning Ashes".  I love her use of color, the unusual design, the way the artist has rendered the archetypal mythic symbol through her individual and very unique point of view.  

I recently finished reading the book, Matisse and Picasso:  A Friendship in Art, written by Francoise Gilot.  This was an inspiring book about the dialogue, meetings, competition, comraderie, and insights between the two Fathers of Modern Art.  I am inspired by these revolutionary forces and am now intrigued by the work and art of Gilot.  I was searching for a female presence within the emergence of modernist art, and I have found a strong influence in Gilot and am impressed by her courage and devotion.  At the end of the book, upon Matisse and the French writer Colette's death, Gilot speaks of going her own way in art and life and of her desire to give voice to her truth within, a truth that has been collectively dormant in women for generations before.  And she becomes a hero and model for myself and woman artists of our time.

"I no longer wanted any admonitions, good or bad; I had to find my own path toward artistic freedom.  This did not mean having less regard for the gods and demigods atop Mount Olympus, but simply recognizing that, each human experience being unique, each artist has the burden and the privilege to bear witness, thus adding something to the wealth of human culture.  Since for generations women have been notoriously silent, it was incumbent upon me and my female contemporaries to reveal an as-yet-unfathomed side of the planet- the emergence of a sunken continent of thoughts, emotions, and wisdom.  In this I still trusted Matisse and Colette; thier blue light was always a beacon during a lifelong quest for the green paradise of innocent love."    -Francoise Gilot, from Matisse and Picasso:  A Friendship in Art

And she says of Matisse:

"To be with Matisse was to dance, to experience generosity of spirit and truth.  All his life he pursued the evanescent vision of a golden age.  Was it an intuition of a return to Edenic bliss, or an accession to unity within the diversity of a multifaceted world?  As he bade farewell to the world, Matisse left his oeuvre behind to enlighten "the way".  Each man, each woman, can reinvent the golden age, can rediscover innocence.  And remember what Matisse said to Dina Vierny in 1941:  "Et surtout, il ne faut jamais mourir" -And above all, one must never die."

We can all reinvent the golden age, find our way to Edenic bliss, realize that we are already living it.  The Garden is here now.


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    Hi I'm Fotini 

    Welcome to my blog!

    I am a painter currently based in Greenville, South Carolina.  Through my work, I seek to communicate an internal narrative using traditional painting processes.  

    Here you will find information about what I am working on, recollections of my process, things that inspire me. I am asking questions about art, writing letters to myself, reflecting, learning, growing, discovering.  Thank you for joining and supporting the adventure.