The sensations caused by various stimuli motivate the painter’s imagination in the process of developing his subject matter. In fact, the very same processing and digesting stages that the painter undertakes, are the ones that act as compasses and guide her towards the expressive development and the final formation of each work. The act of painting and the processes it encompasses, demand continuously sensing, formally-structurally reconstructing, changing, correlating levels and actively associating, actions, all of which alter the subject matter endlessly, removing it from the original stimuli which brought it about.  

Marianna Katsoulidi did not begin with a stasis of her ostensible/pre-formal subject wishing to uncover instead – and express – its inner balance and controversies, on the basis of the temper that she would attributed to it through her drawing and colour Her intention was imprinting a parallel process of inner recording and transformation on one hand, and on the other hand, communicating the manners and stages of a fluid, mobile subject originating from the animal kingdom and wild life. That, demanded that the painter herself be removed to her terrain of choice to scout and observe her subject: the unknown life of untamed goats on the highlands of the Messenian Taigetos mountain massif.

Marianna Katsoulidi hiked the precipitous hideouts for hours and days, in order to identify with her subject and not merely record its phases in the manner of a naturalist camera lens.

Flora and fauna, memories and impressions, proximities and distances, optical accessibility and inner processes lent shape to a series of works in which the stimulus is partly discernible acting as a catalyst. Colours and forms mingle – as one permeates the other – creating structural levels and surfaces, on which is developed either a dialectic or controversial scale of climaxes and lapses, of an idiom which is projected internally with inventiveness and freedom.

Through the life of these un-tutelaged mountain goats, the present things are transformed, while observation – defective and fragmentary – opens up an expressionist idiom which is not exhausted in colourific explosions but carries across principally inner osmoses and reductions, of a qualitatively emotive texture, which reproduces the atmosphere, the rhythm and the underlying vibe of the subject.

Nature and animal are identified with the processes and inclinations of the subconscious, with the memories and objective facts that impress fluid emotional and behavioural circumstances, such as attraction, repulsion, hesitation, caution, mystification, hostility, assertion, audacity, tenderness, arbitrariness, reconciliation and subversion.

An unknown world comes to light through Marianna Katsoulidi’s work. A world which sprouts freedom, independence and the unconstrained joy of life on the precipice, which hides more than it reveals, where danger is omnipresent and its transcendence endlessly uncovers the incompatibilities and bizarreness, the mysteries and unexpected events manifest in life, when viewed through the leaps of those, who become “anchorites”.

Besides, does the way of the artist not involve constant exercise by means of a continuous excess of limits? On this path of traps and question marks, the full of mystification and denouncement of certainties, of a manner of presenting things known as exceptional, and things familiar as possible, is hidden the whole force of painting rhetoric and all its charm.

Athena Schina

Critic & Art Historian