Artist Q&A : Vicky Christou
- Why the fascination with the Grid?
In western art history the grid is an emblem of modernism. It references a point in timein which new ways of seeing and thinking were expressed through artists such as Mondrian, Malevich, Rodchenko and later Agnes Martin. These artists continue to inspire me.
Within my artistic practice the grid acts a vessel, it becomes the perimeter for various metaphors, processes and rituals. For example the metaphor of a veil, an enclosed space, and the ritualistic marking of counted breaths within a specific time frame.
I have also wanted to simultaneously convey a relationship between conceptual minimalism and textile handiwork. The layered paint forms a grid, which in turn embodies a relationship to paint that is seemingly woven.
I was raised in a family where the women were avid about cloth and all forms of handiwork, crochet, knitting, weaving and sewing: that impulse has informed my art practice.
- There appears to be a feeling of restraint and an internal elegant logic within each painting. Do you set a predetermined guideline or set of rules for each work or is it very processed oriented?
I do begin with a predetermined guideline of the grid, which I draw out in pencil first. I can then have a flexible guide and work on a group of paintings to begin with.
As I keep working I then begin to respond to the individual needs of each piece. I can introduce new rules, such as colour or proportional sequence and build layers this way, but I trust how I respond when viewing a piece in determining if it’s completed or not. If I have an internal response I know it’s finished.
This may take some time and that is why some paintings have thicker layers or are denser. I also go back and rework paintings, sometimes over a period of years. The accumulation metaphor of my forever and endless paintings is intuitively guided. This process is something I want to explore more of in the future.
- Do you have rituals or routines in the studio that help you paint? For example do you listen to music or is it completely quiet?
I like to create an atmosphere through listening to different meditative music or mantras. This helps me create a focus of intent. I have practiced meditation for many years and my painting process shares many of its elements. Being present in the moment and being conscious of my breath.