Shades of the sea on Syros

Crystal-clear waters, bathers floating gently and sunlight on the seabed. Maria Filopoulou’s swimmers dive to the bottom relishing in the timeless Greek summer. The artist’s paintbrush hasn’t always been dipping into the sea’s iridescent blue, however. In the past, Filopoulou was known for spreading earthy shades across the canvas and using the revitalizing green of tropical vegetation in her depiction of greenhouses. Years ago, she was prone to sketching staircases in clear, decisive brush strokes. «Chasing the Light,» a retrospective exhibition currently on display at the Cyclades Art Gallery in Ermoupoli, Syros, showcases works covering all of the artist’s creative periods. The show is curated by Iris Kritikou. With an indefatigable passion, Filopoulou began by depicting her small Paris home through a wide-angled perspective. This was followed by her interpretation of greenhouses she came across during strolls in the area of Schinias, northeast of Athens. She then painted the endlessness of the beaches she visited all over Greece, as well as ship decks bathed in summer light, before returning to a well-sheltered space – either the bottom of the sea or natural water tanks playing host to fragments of ancient artifacts. Filopoulou belongs to a gifted generation of artists who studied in Paris in the 1980s and continue to support figurative painting, among them Giorgos Rorris, Stefanos Daskalakis, Irini Iliopoulou and Alexis Veroukas. The artist’s resume includes solo and group exhibitions in galleries abroad. On Syros, the show presents mainly large-scale works from the collections of the National Gallery, the Frissiras Museum, the Copelouzos Family Art Museum, private collections as well as the artist’s personal collection. The retrospective runs to September 4.