Martha Zmpounou

Blue and Black Face Study, 2022

Ink and acrylic on calico

Painting35 x 28 x 1cmShips from United Kingdom


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About the Artist

Martha Zmpounou (b.1987, Greece) is a visual artist whose work revolves around the idea of the human figure and portrait as a space of expression and exposure. She see's the human body as a fragmented yet multifaceted entity, an outcome of a process of layering. Working mostly on paper, this layering process is usually expressed with the use of a mix of water-based media, where the artworks are driven forward by the medium’s inherent qualities, its fluid and transparent nature. It is a mode of work that embraces accidental bleeds, unfinished or seemingly underdeveloped areas, next to others meticulously developed in detail. This results in a fragile dynamic balance between abstraction and representation, one which seeks to capture the tonal and morphological particularities of a sitter’s skin or facial characteristics, and in essence, their very self; the transient and ambiguous element in the figure depicted, all that is supposed to be masked and hidden in portrait or figure. This epitomizes a group of work that conceptually is underpinned by an effort to subtly undermine the glorification of an idealized, polished self, complete and coherent, which is usually evident in traditional portraiture. Rather, Martha is drawn towards the incomplete and incoherent, the fragmentary and the cryptic. Martha lives and works in London, UK.

About the Artwork

Blue and Black Face Study is part of an extensive body of works that revolve around the idea of portraiture as space of expression and exposure. Rather than emulating the likeness of the subject/sitter, the objective is to create an imaginary persona, an enigmatic construct that evokes a certain mood. Using acrylic, ink and watercolour on unprimed cotton, a fictional character emerges, one that appears simultaneously strong and fragile. The centre of gravity is the gaze and the eyes, in a way that questions who is observing and who is being observed, thus playfully reversing the roles between the viewer and the figure.