Accessible To All
 
Letter To Frau Gallerist Regarding Request for statement to accompany Accessible To All

Dear Teri,
As you know from previous collaborations, it is difficult for me to come through with my writing assignments (statement, book – invitation text, Das Word zum Sonntag, etc). 

Having respect and admiration for the creative masters of the written word, accompanied by the gesture of the performer and all the dynamic movement, mood and nuances a word can take in the spoken form.

This describes the way these paintings came to be.

Being able to communicate through colors and forms as we found them in nature, is my proposition to the viewers, for their own dialog, with the same nature to start.

Sincerely yours,
Christos Koutsouras

PS…..this is final, and to be used for future projects as well.
August, 2015

Artist, Educator and Oregon Arts Commissioner writes the following in response to Koutsouras' exhibition:

MIRRORING THE SPIRIT OF THE RIVER
The Painting of CHRISTOS KOUTSOURAS  
In the past few years I have become familiar with the paintings and drawings of Christos Koutsouras.  This is an interesting artist.  When contemplating one of his large panoramic paintings, one becomes aware of a different kind of narrative.  I am referring to his representation of a nature at once vast and profoundly personal. How does he do it?  With what combination of paint application and creative vision is he able to apprehend and fix these images?  To find out I visited him in his expansive studio in Astoria, Oregon.  After a few conversations with the artist I began to understand at least some of his motivation and way of working. 
Born in Greece, his natural interest and ability in art was discouraged by parents and teachers.  A career in art seemed essentially unavailable to him, but as fate would have it the profession into which he was guided became the vehicle for his ultimate escape from the dictates of duty and flight into the world of art.
After being educated as a maritime navigator and serving as an officer in the merchant marines for a few years Koutsouras had seen enough of the world and it’s realities to give himself liberty.  The liberty he had always wanted to pursue his real passion.  What followed was years of rigorous training in the art schools of Berlin, Cologne, and Bonn, Germany.  Koutsouras makes it clear that in his pursuit of excellence in drawing and painting, he enrolled in a school not because of its reputation, but because of his desire to study with a specific artist teaching there.  This early attitude is indication we are dealing with an artist not primarily interested in product but rather process.  Better evidence can be observed in his painting today.  This work is sincere, targets no audience as product, and appears governed largely by a process which the artist has evolved and to which he stands committed.
As I talked with him about his current body of work, Koutsouras spoke with great reverence about the creative process itself.   I asked what percent of his attention was focused on achieving a predetermined outcome or finished product and what percent was focused on the immediacy of process.  His reply:  100% process.
Koutsouras seeks dialogue with his paintings. “ Input without control” is his objective.  According to him ”You don’t make the work, the work makes you”.  The artist confides that he is only able to stay engaged with a visual idea as long as it is evolving.  He is not without patience and is willing to hold on to a concept, but only when he suspects there will come a moment when it will take its own path;  become its own entity. “ That’s when I am really on board, “ he says excitedly.
Maintaining a fairly narrow range of subjects, in a word Koutsouras paints nature.  He asserts that this includes the human figure.  He has no interest for still life or interiors; No architectonic leanings.  While interested in the figure and landscape, especially water, he never places the figure in that environment.  Talking about his figure painting and drawing he says, “It is my intent to mirror the motion of my subject with the action of painting”.  It is this writer’s observation that motion whether large or subtle plays prominently in both subject and content of all his work.
In an attempt to find source for what is obviously the spiritual in his painting, I asked who his early influences were.  None of the artists he mentioned surprised me and all expressed the other worldliness I mark in his paintings.  His first source even as a child was Van Gogh, next Giacometti and finally the artist with whom I feel he has most kinship: Rothko.  It is said that an artist is made or broken by two factors relative to what influences he or she chooses.  First the better the artist’s sources the better the artist is likely to be.  But second and more importantly, the quality of what an artist borrows is not as important as the quality of what she or he brings to put with it.  Koutsouras is no slouch at either task.
This then brings us to a rather poetic piece of irony.  As part of recent historic research on Mark Rothko’s time in Oregon.  It has been discovered that he painted in Astoria and one of his early subjects was the view across the Colombia.  It has even been suggested that the source of the three bands of color associated with his revered later work came from the river, the mountains, and the sky.  Whether or not the river from Astoria was Rothko’s prime inspiration, artists continue to be attracted to Astoria and the Colombia in search of a way to represent vast beauty.   Christos Koutsouras is one of them and if indeed he owes a debt to Rothko his choices have been good for he carries on a tradition of visual discovery through subtle process.
Royal Nebeker
August 9, 2013
Astoria, Oregon
 
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