photos by Sophie SCHWARTZ
STORY by EMILY MARTLAND
Lines of black ink contrast sharply with the white paper. At the center of the page, two figures meet in a kiss, surrounded by white space. Defined only by line, reduced to black and white, the figures nevertheless show shadow, texture, and movement. Such is the work of Georgianna Stoukides.
A student at Brown University, Georgianna has been interested in art since childhood. Although she grew up “in a house of scientists,” her mother’s passion for art, outside her job as a dentist, exposed Georgianna to the discipline at a young age. Thinking back to her childhood in Greece, Georgianna remembers “walls filled with art,” every room containing “so many different things.” The decorative immersion in art continues in Georgianna’s dorm room, where art books detailing the careers of Picasso, Matisse, and Edward Hopper line the shelves, while her own original creations share wall space with prints by her favorite artists. Above her bed, a large white cork board itself transforms into a canvas, while Georgianna manipulates the space with string to spell out quotes or depict human figures. The cork board display reveals Georgianna’s skill at using simple lines to present intricately detailed images, a talent that carries over into all of her work.
Although initially drawn to art with a photograph-like realism, today Georgianna tends toward the abstract, producing work defined by balance and simplicity. “I try to make things more simple,” Georgianna explains. “I try to focus on what I see first when I look at something.” Such a philosophy led to her series of line drawings, in which she depicts human bodies, faces, expressions, and actions with the minimal detail necessary, pulling her subjects away from the clutter of daily life. Many of her works consist solely of black and white, filling the space with line instead of color. “I just think it’s interesting how you can have something black and white, but yet so intricate,” she muses. “I wonder if it causes the same sensations that a color does.”
Much of Georgianna’s work is driven by similar instances of curiosity. From the shelf above her desk, she pulls down a well-loved notebook, explaining how excited she was when a friend brought the blank notebook back from a trip, as a souvenir. Now almost completely filled, the notebook serves as a record of Georgianna’s ideas and inspirations. Swatches of watercolor surround sketches, quotations, and designs.
A much larger, finished work executed in acrylic showcases her talent in blending historical influence and contemporary experiment. Depicting two figures in yellow and red, embracing against a background of deep blue, Georgianna explains that the work was inspired by a Renaissance painting of two angels. She wanted to use the subject, “but not in the same way that the artist did,” turning to color to transform the subject to something new.
Whether working in ink with line, or exploring color in acrylics, Georgianna sees her art as an exercise in simplicity and harmony. “My art brings me to place, to the present, and I like how simple that is.”