Io Angeli

Angeli Io
© Martin Photo Studio

Born in Mytilene, she studied Painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1981-1986). She was granted a scholarship by the Athens School of Fine Arts (1988-1989), as well as by the Greek State Scholarships Foundation (1989-1991), in order to continue her studies in London: she attended the Royal College of Art (MA in Fine Arts, 1988-1990) and the Central St Martins College of Art and Design (Stage Design, 1990-1991). Works by her can be found in important private collections. She lives and works in Athens.


On Art and Her Art: Io Angeli

The painter Io Angeli talks about her relationship with art and, more specifically, her interest in art focused on human matters. She also points out the fundamental significance of the way any given theme is rendered by each artist. Referring to the different spaces that her painting explores, she touches upon the question of the fluidity of space, as well as the issue of boundaries and their various manifestations. Finally, she comments on her painting Beyond This Point, which is part of the Sotiris Felios Collection, and its influences from the current movement of populations, as well as from the boundaries placed on their mobility.

Solo Exhibitions


Slalom Zoumboulakis Galleries Athens


Is It a Trap? Zoumboulakis Galleries Athens


On Boundaries Zoumboulakis Galleries Athens


Drawings Anti Art Gallery Antiparos


Drawings Alma Contemporary Art Gallery Trikala


Dreams Municipal Art Gallery of Korinthos Korinthos


The Land of the Body C.K. Art Gallery Limassol


Future Perfect Athens Art Gallery Athens


Woman in Frame C.K. Art Gallery Nicosia


Home Everywhere Athens Art Gallery Athens


Common Space Zina Athanasiadou Gallery Thessaloniki


Private Space Athens Art Gallery Athens


Beyond Cities Athens Art Gallery Athens


The Other House Zina Athanasiadou Gallery Thessaloniki


The Inner Rooms Kreonidis Art Gallery Athens


Cities and Watch Towers Kreonidis Art Gallery Athens


Art Space Skorpios – Vaso Batagianni Gallery Trikala


Superimposed Landscapes Kreonidis Art Gallery Athens


Ora Art and Cultural Centre Athens


Miranda Gallery Hydra


At the Edge of the City – At the Edge of Nature

Io Angeli’s Women

Io Angeli paints her women almost like a little girl dresses up her dolls. She clothes them, she places them just so, she’s proud of them like a little mother and she always watches over them, even from afar, when they leave her to go to their new homes.

Their clothes, painted with fluid or faded brushstrokes, made of the same materials as the fields around them, at times indicate palpably the inextricable relationship that links these women with a painted nature background in which they almost dissolve, or from which they are just about to emerge. Oftentimes, however, the women appear as if grafted onto this background, painted with sharp brushstrokes and clear outlines, and simply bearing marks of their origins in an environment which already is far distant.

On the edge of the urban as well as the natural landscape, these girl-women appear to stoically present to us the echo of their story, which was acted out in their absence. At times they appear to look the world outside their world in the eye, while at other times they appear to ignore us, spectators of a film of their destiny shot by someone else.

Figures both robust and delicate, like giant dolls in front of a doll’s house that can no longer hold them, seated or standing, facing forward or slightly to the side, but almost always in the lower right or left side of the image, they live, apparently, in the natural environment they selected – to the extent to which they were allowed.

The city, however, is there, on the borders, on a curving horizon, like a colourful ridge outline, that always defines the upper part of the painting and has left its traces clearly in the flaming street barriers of a protest march, in the forgotten office chair, in the remnants of a children’s playground, in the director’s chairs of an urban life, on which these women sit, awaiting – what? Each, with her own attribute, is the star of a story that quickly reveals itself not to be a fairy tale: a goat-sceptre of a grass kingdom; a prickly pear cactus that is a mute friend; a pair of see-saws; games that were never played when it was their time; a sofa – life-saving flower-bed; a fishing line that is the thread of life; a pink bunny – mourning a lost tenderness.

All of this is imbued with Io Angeli’s great love for small enigmatic symbols that constitute simultaneously powerful visual entrance points into her images – black birds, Mickey Mouse ears, goldfish bowls, red hair – as well as for the titles of her works and for the words themselves.

If danger enters here cloaked in the very love that makes us wonder what the story of these women might be, then the lagoons of her colours and the meadows of her artful brushstrokes come to rescue Io, streaming over the canvas to celebrate the joy of painting. Whirlwinds of green pigment invade the furnishings of claustrophobic rooms and transform them into springtime lines/fields abolishing the concept of inside and out. Meagre mists of blazing yellows and reds become the bright lights of remembrance of a city at night. Pyramids like palettes take on the roles of tents in a settlement and post-impressionistic memories banish all black from the shadows of the foliage and the well-drawn female bodies. Twirling designs and clouds of colour blossom on the heads of women and on their chairs; pure colour zones mark distance in regions where even potent diagonals do not reveal depth, but instead confirm the power of a bustling painted image that, above all, wishes to be viewed in the manner of children, from top to bottom, not with the mind, but with the eyes.

Io Angeli is proud of her garlands of asymmetrical buildings which glimmer along the upper borders of these works, but the dream-like flora down below is the place where her women will now live. Without being weighed against the distant apartment blocks, the sight of flowers would be only the magnificent surface of an old wall. And without the blossom-strewn land, the factories would not remain innocent. The city and nature probably won’t ever encounter each other again. However, the female figures that found themselves between them reconciled the boundaries and brought about a silent but certain beauty.


Elizabeth Plessa
* From the catalogue of Io Angeli’s exhibition “Future Perfect”, Athens Art Gallery, Athens, 2009.