Martha Zmpounou

Couple (Study), 2021

Watercolour, ink and acrylic on paper

Painting40 x 30 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

Couple Study refers to the relationship of a queer couple, capturing a moment of intimacy and warmth. It is part of a series of works that deals with the intricacies and dynamics involved in human relationships, exploring nuances of emotions, and the transition from visceral to cerebral. The intensity of the colour palette and the painterly gestures, at once defy and underpin the emotional ambience depicted. There is an interplay between abstraction and figuration with an expressive use of the medium, which creates a tension contradictory to the quiet and tender theme of a couple in intimate contact. The faces of the two figures and their bond are emphasized through colour and their separation from the background, making them the primary focus of the image.