Introduction | Paintings | Biography      
    Exhibitions:   London | Paris | Greece |   New York
 

GEORGE TSATSOS
February 5, 2004

EXHIBITION AT GALLERIE LA HUNS BRENNER PARIS FEBRUARY 2004
COMMENTS

The works I produce are generally expressions of my own personality, they do not try to depict a specific landscape, a person nor an object, not are they meant as allegories. One could say however that they are reflections or even some kind of meditations.
My works on paper are of two kinds'
- Sketches or compositions made during meetings, conferences, lectures etc. These are by their nature created as a parallel occupation while I am listening to the speaker or the proceedings. They are Doodles although in my case Technicolor ones. I usually carry a pouch with my marker pens with me. Making these doodles helps me concentrate on the speaker and keeps my mind from wandering away from the subject. These doodles are not influenced by the theme or content of the conference or meeting, but are compositions on their own.
- Sketches or more complex compositions made in the studio.
Generally speaking my works on paper are freer and more spontaneous then the canvas paintings. This is natural, as a work on canvas is more demanding and more ambitious. I am sure this is so for practically all painters. I believe that because they are spontaneous they also have more fluidity and usually more space. They are not so crowded and shapes and colours stand out in a more pronounced way. They lend themselves to proper framing and a frame that lets them breathe gives them their own self contained presence. My canvases are more tricky to frame as they usually tend to overflow out of their borders. My Boxes and my Canvas Boxes are not boxes of course but have depth i.e. they are for example 35 x 35 x 5 cms or 3 x 30 x 4 curs with flat sides. The image continues bending round the sides and the top and bottom. Thus they are also objects, intimate ones, which can be hung on small wall spaces, in bedrooms, dressing rooms, kitchens, guest toilets, etc. The Boxes have a surface of wood, and the Canvas Boxes of canvas. These works are mostly jewel like and often humorous. If enlarged, some of them might have been quite powerful works on their own right, but they are small and modest, something like an anecdote or a one verse poem, not a novel or an epic.
There are seven graphic works, two screen prints and five lithographs. My last lithograph, Byestanders, was made in its coloured version first but then we decided to do three gray variations; the first with few colours, the second has also deep green and deep bordeaux and the third also some red. The outline is always the same. I found that the three gray variations worked very well, maybe even better then the original. I like making graphic works and I like the textures of paper and inks. It also gives the possibility of broader distribution of my work, especially to younger people in a relatively inexpensive way.
I was asked "Why Carrousels"?
In a carrousel a succession of horses, elephants, small cars, miniature carriages, deer, airplanes, giraffes etc, go round and round. For the spectator there is a succession of images and constant movement, for the riders a feeling of motion but they get nowhere. This show is also a succession of different works, more varied than usual with I think, some fluidity. Thus "Carrousels", I believe, is a good title for an exhibition of many small, colourful, sometimes humorous or whimsical pieces, which are also different from each other.
The element of playfulness is stronger in these works than in the larger ones. Their worlds are ones of fantasy, fun, laughter and paradox. They refuse to abide by the laws of our material world.
George Tsatsos - A short biography
George Tsatsos was born in Athens and educated in Greece and Zurich where he graduated as a civil engineer. He has had a career in industry, running cement companies, and designing and building cement factories, distribution centers and floating terminals in Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, Arabia, Nigeria, Estonia, Poland etc. For the last few years he has lived with his family in London but they also have a home in Greece. He is married to Zoe and they have four children and also grandchildren. He remains active in business. Georges career as an artist developed from his habit of doodling in full colour during meetings, lectures, or whenever obliged to sit for a long time. For the last twenty years or so he has painted mostly in acrylics but has refused to exhibit as he has considered this activity private. He has had no formal art education. George has also for many years collected contemporary art.
George sees his paintings as compositions, neither abstract nor objective, but a research into shapes, colours and geometric forms which are often ambiguous or physically impossible. He also draws humorous cartoons and illustrated original alphabets.
George exhibited for the first time in a one-man show at the Bowman Gallery in London in October 2002. In November 2002 he exhibited in New York at the Agora Gallery, and has a further show scheduled in Paris at the La Hune Brenner Gallery on the Place St Germain des Pres from the 17th to the 28th February 2004.

 

The Antic Metaphysical Abstractions of George A. Tsatsos

To the small, select group of successful businessmen turned innovative painter which includes Jean Dubuffet and Walter Gutman, among others, we should now add the name of George A. Tsatsos, born into a prominent Greek family that includes a former president of Greece and the well known artist Nico Ghika.
For many years Tsatsos had painted seriously but_ refused to exhibit his work. He was busy enough presiding over his international business affairs and pursuing a wide range of interests, including contemporary art. Recently, however, he had a change of heart and agreed to an exhibition at the Robert Bowman Gallery, a prestigious venue in London, and will also be exhibiting at the renowned Galerie La Hune Brenner in Paris.
New Yorkers also had a chance to acquaint themselves with the work of George A Tsatsos when he was the subject of an exhibition at Agora Gallery 415 West Broadway, in Soho. And what they saw was a mature painter at the height of his powers with a style so sophisticated that it is almost hard to believe that he has been doing anything but painting steadily over the years.
What immediately strikes one about Tsatsos' brilliantly colored, hard-edged acrylic paintings is their intricacy and their animation. Working with forms that seem to morph from abstract to semi-figurative before one's very eyes, Tsatsos fills his compositions with a downright zany array of lively visual incidents. One is never quite sure what is being alluded to in the seemingly inexhaustible variety of cartoon-like abstract shapes that Tsatso's is able to generate, yet one is captured and intrigued by them.
For their intricacy and the suggestion of metaphysical spaces in his paintings, Tsatsos has been compared -to the great graphic artist M.C. Escher. While such comparisons are not inaccurate, Tsatsos also boasts qualities in common with Jean Miro, particularly for his coloristic vibrancy and his ability to suggest an entire cosmos heretofore unseen biomorphic life-forms that fairly squirm and wiggle with an antic vitality.
Tsatsos transports us to a realm where lively shapes appear constantly in motion. Bands of bright, comicstrip color waver like flags blowing in a strong breeze or writhe- and twist themselves in knots like serpentine strands of electrified spaghetti. Luminous grids wiggle like melting checkerboards. Angular shapes float through the air like levitating machine parts or robotic components on the verge of metamorphosing into human form.
Precious few painters today possess anything like Tsatsos' ability to suggest a narrative subtext while maintaining a formal abstract autonomy. One gets caught up in the almost apocalyptic energy of his compositions, with their combinations of angular and cursive forms, which play off against each other with a lively, Helizapoppin intensity In almost any given painting by Tsatsos, brilliant flame-like shapes flare up against more stolid geometric elements, while a wide and wild variety of other colorful, baroque forms interact and interlock in an eye and mind boggling chromatic orgy recalling Bob Dylan's famous line, "Something is happening here but you don't know what it is, do you, blister Jones?"
It is just this ability to shroud his intentions in mystery while dazzling us with his formal virtuosity that makes George A, Tsatsos a remarkable and fascinating painter. One can only hope now that he has broken the ice and decided to exhibit after working in private for so long that he will continue to share his uniquely animated vision, particularly in New York City where his irrepress-ible energy and seemingly inexhaustible inventiveness is sure to find an eager and appreciative audience.
Wilson Wong. Gallery&Studio Vol.6 No3 February/March 2004

 

Setting the Stage

There is no mistaking the presence of Joln (CAP) Roberts, a vivacious man who has been collecting works of art since he was a child. I lis past collections include Civil War memorabilia and American furniture dating back to the mid-eighteenth century. But the current focus of his art collection includes works from the American Southwest, Manhattan, New York, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Roberts divides the bulk of the collection between an apartment in New York City and a country home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. "The main focus of my collection represents the locales where I have lived," Roberts said.
Roberts recently purchased Pandora's Small Bang by artist and friend George Tsatsos. "Clearly the piece enhances my collation because of the very nature. It has its own unique sparkle," said Roberts, "Every time I look at the work, I see something new."
And no wonder, the cartoon-like geometric abstractions of Tsatsos span pattern, cubism, and design much like the architectural creations of M.C. Escher. This synergy between collector and artist allows for new visual perspectives. There is chaos and organization. Structures are decomposed in random ways while preserving the moment. His recent purchase suggests an explosion on canvas, something that cannot be compressed into its original volume. The constructs are not just abstractions but detailed work of perpetual motion. The work is very much like the artist himself. Tsatsos' work has the confidence and technical mastery of a lifelong painter.
" With George as the artist and my friend, I have a bit of my friend here with me every day." Roberts said.

 


www.Art-Mine.com

To his Mediterranean contemporaries and colleagues, George Tsatsos is better known as the "Captain of the cement industry" than PostIndustrialist artist. Born into a high-profile family in Athens whose distinguished members include his cousin, the former President of the Republic of Greece, Constantine Tsatsos (1975-80), and uncle Nice Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, the most prominent 20th century Greek painter, Tsatsos' first career was not painting. Educated in Greece and Zurich, he received a degree in civil engineering which he then put to work in the cement industry managing cement companies, and designing and building cement factories, distribution centers, and floating terminals in Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, Nigeria, Arabia, Estonia, and Poland. As the captain of the cement industry, he brought Heracles Cement, of which he was Managing Director, to the position of the largest exporter of cement in the world.
Financially secure, Tsatsos became an avid art collector with a special interest in contemporary art, especially American Abstract Expressionism. Eventually, his hobby of collecting art inspired him to pick up both pencil and brush. Tsatsos first began drawing his cartoon-like pieces as doodles during executive board meetings, lectures, and other events
where he was required to sit for long periods of time. Eventually his need for a more creative outlet gave way and his office meeting sketches evolved into full-scale designs. He has been painting regularly now for the past twenty years, although choosing not to exhibit, believing his pieces were intensely private expressions of his own visions. Continuously urged by friends and family to reconsider, Tsatsos has recently decided to reverse his decision and exhibit his pieces in public, citing: "Maybe 1 have now reached a maturity which permits me to want to show my work publicly."
His work has been described as humorous cartoons or illustrated original alphabets. His cast of strange creatures includes flying lakes, lollipop rabbits, shoulderless heads and characters, green horses amidst fantastical geometric and architecturally abstract settings. He refers to his pieces as "compositions," neither abstract nor objective, but visual research into shape, color, geometric form and pattern, as experiments in the relationship between color, shape, and space. His lack of formal training in the arts is seen by Tsatsos and his critics as more a blessing than handicap, responsible for his fresh and original designs. In fact, his artwork has been found to be so unique it warrants the designation of a new term, "Post-Industrial Art," which Tsatsos finds both appropriate and self-contained.
While he has no formal art education, he does highlight the influence of artists including Fernand Leger, Jean Dubuffet, Paul Klee, and the later works of Vassily Kandinsky.
For Americans, especially those living in New York City during the 1980's, the graffiti art of Keith Haring with his socially conscious agenda and whimsical characters may also come to mind. With one painting Tsatsos recalls the stylistic patterns of Cubism, carnivalesque whimsy of Miro, gravity defying designs of Escher, and androgynous creatures of Haring. His application of design, coloration, and ability to bring to life the walls, roads, machines, and figures which grace his canvases are all his own.
While best known for his whimsical worlds, Tsatsos' work also demonstrates deference for his culture. His piece Some Symmetries (Diptych) can be read as homage to his rich cultural history referenced through an abstracted form reminiscent of an Ionic column recalling the tradition of stability and balance (referenced in the title) associated with traditional Greek culture. To requests for elaboration on his pieces Tsatsos response is always, "they are what the spectator wants to see in them and ... it is up to the observer to decide on what they are supposed to represent".
In addition to his canvases, Tsatsos has also produced a children's book titled, An Alphabet for Analphabets, using his unique, carnivalesque designs. He is currently living in London with his wife and family where he is involved in children's charities, donating proceeds from his early exhibitions to KIDA a UK based charity.

ArtisSpectrum Volume 12.2004

George A. Tsatsos' work is an original contribution by a member of a prominent Greek family, which includes a president of Greece and the painter Nico Ghika. Tsatsos himself, a "captain of the cement industry" and international businessman, with wide encyclopaedic interests including collecting contemporary art, has been reluctant to exhibit his work. However, he decided recently to exhibit with London's prestigious Robert Bowman gallery and in February 2004 will be exhibiting at the renowned Galerie La Hune Brenner in Paris. Tsatsos' work has all the confidence and technical mastery of a lifelong painter. While only exhibiting lately, his life of diverse activities has rarely been without painting. Now, over twenty years of commitment to art is manifested in his ingenious cartoon-like geometric abstractions. His sensibility spans across cubism, pattern and design, and M.C. Escher-like architecture. Tsatsos' whimsical narratives entertain formally and subjectively. He constructs not just abstractions, but believable and intricately detailed carnivalesque other worlds. From the most unlikely shapes, Tsatsos brings to life connected roads, walls, figures and machines. In a perpetual motion of abstract metropolitan razzle-dazzle, his world of bright colored shapes inspire awe and admiration.

 


 
     
Copyrights @ Verinha Ottoni. All rights reserved