– ABOUT THE PROJECT
For Toronto-based artist Dimitri Papatheodorou, his art practice, like his critically successful architectural practice, is rooted in appreciating the value and mystery in private spaces and the way light, entering as subtle as poetry, can transform the perception of an empty room and lead us, the viewer, into a deeper appreciation of the transcendental potential at the heart of our built environments. As a practicing architect as well as a widely-respected artist, Papatheodorou’s insights on the spirituality of empty space are informed by his long commitment to realizing the sacred in the common place. A deeply thoughtful artist, Papatheodorou was a joy to work with on this engaging article about his deceptively simple work.
“Papatheodorou is a practicing architect as well as a visual artist and his paintings prove his interest in space and form is profound. He makes the case that structure can contain us at the same time it opens us up to some further possibility. In Intimate Immensity the individual panels quote from such modernist architects as Tadao Ando, Daniel Liebskind and, most meaningfully, Le Corbusier. His Chapel Notre Dame du Haut is a pilgrim’s church not only for Catholics but for those who believe – as Papatheodorou does – in the power of architectural purity. Faith takes many forms.”
– Barry Dumka
The quest for the spiritual in art – for some further awakening to knowledge and understanding and emotion – has fallen out of favour in recent years though it still deserves focus. Kitsch and irony have winked their way to centre-stage. Contemporary art can be overfed with ideas as the cupboard of pop culture gets emptied out onto the canvas. If the story isn’t always interesting, at least it’s busy and action-packed.
So it’s a charm to come upon the quiet and contemplative panels of Toronto artist Dimitri Papatheodorou which speak of larger truths by simpler means. Charming because Papatheodorou’s paintings are seductive and pull you into their stillness, suggesting the possibility of some further discovery if you follow the light. The critic Mimi Gelman has called Papatheodorou’s panels “perceptual thresholds made material in painting that invite the viewer to enter and experience transcendence”. In these minimalist spaces larger truths are spoken through the silence.
Papatheodorou builds up each panel with many fine layers of oil (in the manner of Mark Rothko) so that light and dark and colour all sink deep into the image. In Papatheodorou’s work – as with night vision -we are perceptively aware that there is more going on about us if we give into the darkness and let the light rise to the occasion almost subliminally. Rothko is the master here but Papatheodorou shows skill, insight and allure in his own use of this effect.
— (end of excerpt)
© Barry Dumka/BCREATIVE CONSULTING
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