Christos Tolera

Artist Statement

Having produced many artists' statements over the years which were self-consciously written for the reader, I have come to the stage in my life and my practice where I'd like to be clearer and more honest, governed less by what I think some people may want to hear but more by what I want to say.

As an artist I am defined by the choices I make, from the smallest of marks to the grandest of gestures. I apply a filtering system of likes and dislikes to achieve a balance according to my taste which has developed over a lifetime. I am influenced by the world I live in through a process of action and reflection. In what I see, what I read and what I listen to.

I can also view my practice as a response to the ever present fascination I have with sex and death and the expression of the moods and emotions associated with that.

I am influenced as much by instinct as intellect in which ambivalence and the conflict of duality plays a large part, intellect tending to come later in the process as a means to understand. The expression of the meeting of two opposite ends at a common point. The tipping point.

I believe in the magic of paint and the visceral qualities it has of applying skin to flesh and surface to substance. I am interested in composition and balance and occasionally imbalance. I am still in thrall to the poetry and romantic possibilities of paint. I hope that my work, when successful, bypasses the intellect and affects people emotionally and in an ideal world the audience would experience the same feelings when they are looking as I had when I was painting.

As for how it appears and the materiality of it all I think it's best to look rather than for me to describe and also to keep in mind one of my favourite quotes about art by Eva Hesse.

“Don’t ask what it means or what it refers to,”Hesse said about her art. “Don’t ask what the work is. Rather, see what the work does."