Marina Koraki: Don’t forget to remember as an artist comes of age
The development of an artist’s vision takes time to mature and evolves throughout their lifetime. Each artist is different. Some reach that maturity at a relatively early age, while others might not experience this until later in life.
Marina Koraki’s work shows this evolution -- the “becoming” of Marina Koraki. Graduating in 2006, she is on her path to becoming the artist she is ultimately meant to be. Her work ranges from decorative to graphic to fine art. Into her examination of the world she brings a vibrant palette, informed lines and complex, tactile surfaces. Ms. Koraki states that her vision is to understand how the world works -- to figure out the truth behind the "obvious" that the mind can see -- and how humanity and life on Earth relates to the microcosm, and ultimately how this relates to the macrocosm of the universe.
Ms. Koraki examines several themes in her work, for example: Creation, Lightbodies, Cosmic Sea and The Butterfly Effect. The works share similar methods and vision, but follow different visual paths. Her fascination with various forms, and their relationship to structure, come through in each series. Ms. Koraki utilizes multiple media to highlight the subject as well as explore and expose the media itself. The results are lush and alluring. Each series may be seen as part of her journey.
In the “Creation” series, color, form, and surface unite to celebrate sexuality and sensuality in organic shapes that mesh human and floral forms. There is a playfulness to the images that bring pause to remind us to let the mirth in. Ms. Koraki does not hide the sexual connotation as phallic symbols intertwine with more female formations of petals and leaves. The surfaces are tactile; the palette is alive with passionate reds beating with intensity and desire, with illuminating golden hues offering thoughts of hope, light, and life. Works such as “Focus” and “Arsenokoiths” are reminiscent of Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Black Iris” and “The Blue Flower” in composition and color, as well as the interplay of female and male sexual forms. “Krinos” pays tribute to the photographic work of Robert Mapplethorpe and images such as “Calla Lily” (1982) and “Tampa Orchid” (1985). Ms. Koraki’s works show the same intense focus on a single form, pulling the viewer into the sinewy lines and colors, and vision of beauty and the energy of the soul tying into the world of nature and the eternal mystery of element and form.
“Lightbodies” is a collection of theatrical figures posed to dramatic effect. The lighting and treatment is reminiscent of the artist Nikolaos Gyzis’ works such as “The Spider” and “Behold the Celestial Bridegroom”. Man and woman appear alone and entwined like Adam and Eve. In“lightbodies_4”, passion is emphasized by the orchid’s presence, symbolizing love, beauty, and fertility. “lightbodies_3” shows the couple sitting, the woman’s belly suggesting a birth on the way - a smear of red across their torsos indicating passion, union, the fluid of life - bonding the couple together.
Ms. Koraki’s “Cosmic Sea” series, dating from 2015 to the present, shows the progression of her voice. Elements of Gustav Klimt, Paul Signac, as well as imagery of fractals and environmental aerial photographs coalesce. Ms. Koracki’s influences from philosophy, religion, anthropology and quantum physics mesh with archetypal symbols, Art-Deco references, and even the theatrical overtones of Punchdrunk to bring her work more focus. Shell shapes grow out of Corinthian columns that speak to the ocean and her Greek heritage and harken to archetypal symbols of time past. Paint is incised in swirls as cell-like life forms glitter across the landscape surfaces. She draws the viewer in on many different levels, swirling along with the vibrancy and mayhem, but never feeling lost.
“The Butterfly Effect” examines, as the artist explains on her website, “the butterfly like a soul seen through the passage of centuries in ancient civilizations and religions; like heaven as the bright and eternal abode of every soul, the energy center to which the soul returns, is reborn, and continues the circle of life to infinity”. To do this, she mingles different approaches and media. The pieces are titled with dates as though they are steps on a journey. It prompts thought on how things change over time and may be experienced differently at different stages in life. To miss one image in the series might mean missing out on a leg of the visual journey through life. The images weave in and out from a very decorative approach, as in “Butterfly Effect apr 1”, “Butterfly Effect apr 2”, and “Butterfly Effect apr 3”; to works reminiscent of ancient mountainous landscapes such as “Butterfly Effect apr 7” and “The butterfly effect Apr 10”; to the colorful explosion of Klimt-like glitter in images “Butterfly Effect apr 9”, and “Butterfly Effect apr 12 ‘. Reds and oranges are introduced throughout, but come to full power in images “Butterfly Effect apr 7” and “Butterfly Effect apr 8”.
Throughout these paths there is ultimately an expression of beauty through a love of color and media. Ms. Koraki explores life as she works on them. They show a relationship with the media and a desire to have that media convey the complexity within the cosmos. She believes that our flesh and the material world are made from energy glowing with gold and white light. The beauty of her world and her mastery of materials makes following her journey a uniquely creative and thoughtful experience. She wants to remember that we are a small part of a complex universe. We should pause to appreciate beauty, love, positivity, unity, and harmony.
Ms. Koraki’s visual language will continue to evolve as her images reflect her maturing vision. For now, she spreads her own butterfly wings to try out as many avenues of expression that she finds interesting. There is no reason not to. See her work at marinakoraki.com.