Edward Shaw 2010


“Her work is a celebration of joy, of colour and of the tension of the form. The artist gives herself entirely in the process and aspires to bewitch the spectators: a curse that can conjure eternally joy and ties in equal parts.”

Edward Shaw
Painting between the lines.
Daphne draws on her condition as a woman, her Greek heritage, her knowledge of psychology and her raw talent to etch her essence on canvas. The visual result of her rich background is a vibrant display of cosmic creativity that dances in harmonic hues of bright color across the surface of her pictures.

Daphne expresses her profound sense of joy at the potential of art to focus the frenzy of her feelings. Flexibility, movement, and the brio of dance all give character to her brushstrokes, to her intentions and visions. Daphne seeks inspiration beyond the frontiers of her mind, her emotion, her body: she seeks the territory where all human attributes merge in a spirit-driven search for comprehension.

The conquest of this synthesis motivates her quest to dig into the deepest nooks and crannies of her interior and let her hand pulsate to the rhythm that shapes the result, transforming the everyday materials of an artist into a pageant of chromatic interventions that convert figurative ideas into abstract designs and abstract intuitions into veiled symbols of recognizable imagery.

The final product of her invasion of a once-pristine white surface is one woman’s glimpse of what matters: an individual’s resolution of the painter’s perennial dilemma through knowledge of technique and application of physical dexterity.

For a long time Daphne kept her art to herself, not feeling comfortable, perhaps, with revealing her innermost sensations in the form of personal symphonies in paint. Music and movement are at play in her composition: both blended in the context of her own self as a sentient being in constant motion. She distributes her colors in designs that emerge from this otherworldly state in which she finds herself at the moment of action, in that instant when energy turns into art.

Her work, however, is not a puzzle: we are not trying to look for recognizable forms. This is not a game, like finding fleeting animal forms in fluctuating cloud formations. The structure emerges from superimposed layers of Daphne’s desire to inform us of what she feels, what she is striving to contribute to our growth, be it visual or emotional, through the impact we receive on first viewing her painting. The initial impression is the one that stays, that penetrates beyond the mind’s eye. What comes next is a form of visual complacence: seeking passive pleasure in gratifying our senses. Daphne, however, aims at an instantaneous conquest, love at first sight.

People look for what they recognize in figurative paintings. They need to know the quantity of hours, the number of days it took the artist to complete the painting. The work ethic pervades, even in regarding art. Great artists are, in the end, a combination of their talent and originality and their ability to make each painting similar enough in style and content to another, so the average eye can send the message to the brain that one is looking at a Picasso or a Warhol. Daphne is not interested in that method. Her formation guides her along a distinctive route.

Pure abstraction is something else. The appeal is primarily color and combinations of color. An opportune composition sets the eye spinning like a slot machine until the revolving band of symbols stops at one of them. When the three symbols in the line are the same, it’s the jackpot! That in terms of art is when an abstract painter’s image sticks in our visual memory. Just as figurative paintings go from hyperrealism to fluid expressionism, abstract art goes from hard edge to expressionism, the style, for example, of the School of New York in the 1950s. The two approaches can diverge, taking ingredients from both recipes.

Daphne starts at the outer edge of these twin expressionisms. Her brushstrokes evolve into barely discernable figures and floating clouds of color. She superimposes the two in an intuitive, almost instinctive, way, without any preconceived grand design. Most artists start with a rational idea of what they are aiming to achieve on canvas, be it a person in whatever degree of digression the figure might take, or in a display of colors representing only themselves in juxtaposition to one and another. Most artists also say that a painting itself will take over at some point in the process and become the guiding force behind the end result. It is just this combination of purpose and permeability which can permit a painter to capture a spark of the unknown, of the un-seeable, in his or her work.

Daphne follows the interior forces that propel her forward in her search. When facing a blank canvas, she feels the urge to register certain sensations in paint. These sensations are just that: they are not specific images. A splash of color spontaneously covers a corner, another, the center, another caresses the first, and the game is underway. As the colors converge on the surface, she devises the embryo of a form, a shape. She sharpens it, so that it becomes an amorphous figure. This procedure is repeated and the first splashes of color can no longer be identified. They have been integrated into the whole, into the finished work that eventually hangs on a gallery wall.

The process has a tenuous beginning, like a seed sending up its first chute. The organism grows and reaches its moment of fruition. It is at that precise instant that Daphne wants to halt the evolution of her painting. A flash of intuition, an inner voice cries “Stop!”, and a brush in mid-air halts its approach and aborts its encounter with the canvas.

Daphne’s work is a celebration of the joy of color and the tension of shape. The apparent joy may conceal sorrow; the tension may constrict or dissolve. Daphne cannot identify each and every emotion in her work, nor can she be sure what each shape is projecting onto the viewer’s screen of perception. She puts her entire self into the process and aspires to cast her spell on her viewers: a spell that conjures, in a timeless way, joy and union in equal portions.

Edward Shaw
Tunquén, Chile – August 2010