Fotini Galanes at Burchfield Penney

Burchfield Penney Arts Center

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A Closer Look: Fotini Galanes' drawing project at The Park School

Published May 13, 2015 | Colin Dabkowski | Buffalo News


Galanes’ visual style is “characterized by bulbous anthropomorphic forms connected flawlessly by whimsical lines, which dance with one another to create compositions that are at once repugnant and appealing.”
Cori Wolff

Curator, Buffalo Arts Studio

In recent years, Galanes has emerged as one of the more fascinating local artists working in the medium of drawing. Her painstakingly rendered graphite drawings of strange, biomorphic forms on paper have appeared in the Kenan Center, Big Orbit Gallery, on the walls of the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s Useum and,and perhaps most notably, in a brilliant exhibition in the Burchfield Penney Art Center’s Useum space last fall.

Galanes’ intricate abstractions, which she produces at a rate of two hours per square inch, invite the viewer into the paper to explore the intricacies of her flowing figures, which sometimes evoke human hair, sometimes strange flowers. “Working directly onto a special ground porcelain board, she utilizes a mechanical pencil to devour the space and create images motivated by her fascination with textures, surfaces and human interaction,” according to a release about the show.

Colin Dabkowski

Writer, Buffalo News

I intently draw the freak that I am and the impact is beautiful. Aware and sensitive, sometimes painfully, to human reactions to the strange and abnormal, I grew up developing an insatiable need to communicate what I’m capable of regardless of my appearance. When I work in pencil, I see the raw movement of my hand in my work. I control it to build what I already see. My innate ability to do this excites me and there is a sense of freedom. When I begin a drawing, I do not have a final image in mind. I simply put lead to surface and start marking it with lines. A composition forms and I follow it until it is complete, stopping only when I feel full and when the piece is balanced and void of interruptions.

Fotini Galanes

The joyful play of lines in Galanes’s work recalls the intricate beauty of Baroque ornament. Where classicism sees beauty in the human figure, and romanticism celebrates the infinite’s immanence in nature, Baroque art does not so much represent beautiful objects, as the sense of beauty without object. Like Baroque ornament, Galanes’s work is, in this way, profoundly modern. Flaunting artistic mastery, extraordinary discipline, and meticulous attention to her own formal conventions, the monochromatic flora she draws out by pencil from a stone-like porcelain board mesmerizes the viewer with unnameable beauty. But Galanes’s vine-like reliefs at once make disturbing reference to the bodily. The inviting play of lines repulse, when, from another aspect, we notice in their detail a semblance of contorted flesh, sinews, and bones. This (de)composition of bodies inside out thus referencing our own mortality, Galanes’s works teeters strangely between the pure aesthetic experience and its conceptual decay—without letting us down.

Michael Halberstam J.D., Ph.D.

Portrait Magazine

A burn survivor finds a beauty in vulnerability through her abstract yet hauntingly realistic drawings. The dialogue, provoked by the human response towards the exquisite and the grotesque seen in her work, cultivates her insatiable need to communicate tolerance and proposes that our stories are not on the outside.