IRIS KRITIKOU 2007 "SKOUFA 4"

Alina Matsa immerses herself with fervour into the world of materials, making a profound study of different techniques, balancing on the interstices of an ambiguous interpretation of motifs, leaving the viewer to enter gradually the self-contained worlds of her canvases, to forge a path by sight and touch through the cosmogony of her universe, as it unfolds triumphal, in the form of a palimpsest mural, with primordial mythic elements, of an uncertain date. They might be fragmented scenes from the flight of Icarus over the Aegean, or perhaps splintered glimpses of a mythical sea voyage: memories of an apocryphal Odyssey; vague outlines of the land of the Laestrygones; offshoots from the lush vegetation on the land of the Phaeacians; tender laurels -evidence of tree-worship and imperceptible rustling of reeds in impromptu paeans; motley finds on a wet sandy beach; and sirens at rest, formed of colour and small pellets of soil, dipped in oxygen-satiated blue and exuding a blinding turquoise, carried away by dreams in the crevices of pink, or on the small crannies of ochre. In this imagined archipelago, whose geography Matsa lays out, the sea is ever-present, blue is omnipotent, and both of these act catalytically: small specks of travelling blue-green matter converse with earthy shards of clay, hints of islands and half-finished outlines of figureheads, specks of light from lighthouses, ruins of shipyards and ancient temples, glow white under the moonlight, float on the gentle hillocks and hidden valleys of the painted surface, gradually leading to another dimension. Β“IΒ’ve always been attracted by the sea, I sometimes want to leave, but I always return to the sea; sooner or later: it calms me and frees my mind to wanderΒ”, the artist explains. A timeless ally in this dream voyage of hers is the fathomless potential of technique at her disposal, the endless process of taming her materials. This might be why Matsa does not renounce her former background in applied arts: her work invokes unexpected and sometimes contradictory mixtures; aspiring to Β“constructΒ” a private Atlantis through consecutive layers of earth, crackled plaster and varnishes; she is sometimes dedicated to the search for a dazzling transparency and at other times to revealing a compact solid landscape, in oils, acrylics and powders; she deals with the subjective cartography of the world, inventing deposits from dripped wax, concocting inexhaustible engravings, graffiti and craquelure. At the point when the self-containment of the initial intent is exhausted, topic and materials transubstantiate into a new Β“realΒ” destination with unfading magnetismΒ…. This personal destination, created by the artist, throbs with a vibrant pulse: her watery world no longer constitutes a painted environment, but has instead itself become the Β“faceΒ” of her painting, organising the energy and determining the fluidity of things, defining the Β“link that accounts both from the soothing repetition of patterns and from the pleasure we can obtain from more intricate constructions, from configurations which we can still understand as applications of underlying lawsΒ”. 2 Alina MatsaΒ’s work, Β“furrowedΒ” with rhythms and motifs, constitutes a palimpsest field, where colours and materials are constantly deconstructed and reconstructed, sometimes on minimal surfaces and at other times in courageous diptychs. Colours mixed into fine shades of the sea and sky, consecutive layers of transparency, unexpected successions of rhythms and techniques penetrate the fibres of the canvas, or the wooden surfaces she uses, broadening the inner core of things, revealing recently fabricated and fragile little worlds, building compact layers of matter; sometimes creating the illusion of existence and at other times a discourse on its absence, while invoking all a viewerΒ’s senses. Yet it remains for the viewer to decide whether these are the raw materials of dreams or the unclassified and extemporaneous records of real memory, in this painterΒ’s personal diary, a diary that is hand-made and beyond time. IRIS KRITIKOU 2007 Art critic

© 2015 Alina Matsa