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Faculty Update: Panayiotis Terzis

A new show for the artist, publisher, and Riso wizard

Dance Dance is a new exhibition featuring Panayiotis Terzis, SVACE faculty member and RisoLAB manager. With Good Naked Gallery, this online, two-person exhibition places Terzis’ paintings into a new frontier. Viewers can take in Terzis’ paintings within a 3D virtual world created by George Skoufas, where they will appear up to 10 times the original scale.

From the press release: "Paintings by Panayiotis Terzis line the walls of architectural structures and with increased scales loom over Skoufas’ sculptures centered in each gallery. Both Skoufas and Terzis mine historical and pop cultural language as they develop characters/narratives that reference the past and speak to the future. Terzis’ paintings project worlds vast and familiar. Geometric/mannered faces and bodies stand/stare stoic and removed. Their environments are activated by color and charged with kinetic capacity. Terzis’ static figures take up psychological space as they bump up against open landscapes and classic architectural forms. Frames/patterns/fields of color set a beat/rhythm to the works and our eyes follow this projected soundscape as we traverse each surface.”

Scroll down for our q&a with Panayiotis.

SVACE: What's the story behind the paintings? Are they part of a narrative?

PT: The paintings in this show are from a loose series that I've been producing in spurts since 2012/13, when I was trying to find a way to get back into painting without returning to canvas and acrylics or oils. The oldest paintings were collected in a zine published by Bronze Age Editions called "Spectrum Test" in 2013, which describes part of what I was doing: stretching out with gouache and ink on paper and testing out different combinations of color, form, and texture. Other paintings were published in my ongoing zine series "Megalith" published by Mega Press, and they also appeared in PreCog magazine.

There is no concrete narrative that holds it all together, but the forms and faces are inspired by both classical antiquity and the blockbuster pop science fiction movies, books, TV shows and culture of the 1970s and 80s through today. The “Borg" faces are something I've been compulsively drawing and painting for a while, and their different expressions form their own narrative as they stare us down. They're portraits of myself and maybe humanity as a whole as we move towards a cyborg future from a quasi cyborg present. They're sort of about a personal sense of god-like power that can come from "optimizing" yourself with exercise and mental training like meditation and creative practices, the way you would run programs to optimize your consumer electronic devices, and the fear of dissolution in the face of being dependent upon and possibly absorbed by a vast technological network that no one person can understand.

SVACE: How does the virtual space transform your paintings? For example, you're working within a new color space.

PT: These works were all created IRL well before this show opportunity came up, but the vivid colors of Skoufas's 3D rendered world seamlessly blend with the paintings, since I use bright, complementary color combinations and neon hues. The most exciting aspect is the scale. These paintings range in size from 9x12" to 24x26", but in the world George created, he's scaled them up to nearly 10x the original size. I love this aspect because monumental art of all kinds is hugely inspirational to me: big, sincere, unapologetic and somewhat flatfooted expressions on a massive scale. I try to channel that energy into my work even if I mostly work at a small scale with ephemeral materials like paper, ink, and gouache.

I'd love to create 100% digital works for a future exhibition of this kind, which could then be rendered physically if purchased.

SVACE: Can you tell us how you began to collaborate with George Skoufas?

PT: I had gone to Jaqueline Cedar's last in-person opening at her space, Good Naked, back in January, when COVID was just beginning to erupt in a few provinces in China and the concept of it spreading was terrifying but seemed like something out of a dystopian pandemic thriller movie. We followed up and started talking about collaborating on something, and she was interested in showing the work as the space transitioned into an experimental online presence and gallery space. It was Jaqueline who connected me with George. We were all on board about putting together something that used the endless possibilities of 3D design to build an exciting environment that complimented the work instead of just recreating the same old boring white cube gallery/museum space.

We met and talked about different ideas and influences. I was thinking of ancient temples and the epic set designs in a book of Wagner opera productions. George took it and ran with it. He 100% designed, created, and built the world and structures that house my paintings online. I think it was a case of perfect timing, and synchronicity. George is also of Greek heritage, and he's working with figures and symbols from antiquity in his work in a playful way that I can definitely relate to in my own work. I'm blown away by what he came up with, and excited to try to work with the same digital 3D rendering tools in the future, but I know there will be a steep learning curve!

Join the virtual opening of Dance Dance for a guided tour through the virtual space, set to music composed by Skoufas. Afterwards, visitors will be able to explore the site at their own pace and contemplate the work in their own time.

Learn more about Panayiotis Terzis, risograph printing, and more in our feature here.

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