Protection of the Seas

As a scientist who studies the socio-political events that have sealed the evolution of humanity throughout history, I could not have been more concerned with the issue of environmental destruction, responsible for the climate change that has been observed in recent years. This is one of the most important problems that raised a global public concern, but also one that has greatly influenced contemporary artistic creation. Of course, as my capacity is not directly related to the subject matter, I could not make any proposals how to avoid this unmitigated disaster, nor could I make any in-depth analyses as to what exactly caused it. However, I have chosen to write about this series of works by Evgena because, admittedly, it is as timely as ever.

The artist, who has lived for many years in close proximity to the sea that washes the southern coast of Attica, attempts through this particular series of works to “talk” about the vital importance of protecting the organisms that inhabit the Mediterranean seabed. Her works aim to awaken and raise awareness among viewers, alongside the aesthetic pleasure they always offer. “Medusa. Sovereign of the Seas”, or the works with colourful coral reefs… The intensity of the colours of these aquatic life forms seem to pulsate against the deep blue background representing the sea mass.

Starting from the project “Medusa. Sovereign of the Seas”, we notice that while the jellyfish has been rendered in an almost abstract way and with greater emphasis on the bright red and yellow that give the figure an intense dominance, the background surprises us with how painterly it is crafted. The artist’s gesture stands out, the multiple shades of blue are impressive. A blue that reminds us so much of the Aegean Sea that surrounds us! I could make a perhaps subjective observation at this point: not only does Evgena undoubtedly know how to handle colour, it is her love and deep connection with the sea that is reflected here. She knows the sea. She has studied in every detail the changes in the colour of the water according to the light, its every movement according to the winds.

The issue at stake here is none other than the rapid increase in the number of jellyfish in our ecosystem, which means a serious danger to fish populations. Anthropogenic factors, such as unregulated fishing, are primarily responsible for this phenomenon. Perhaps that is why the artist chooses the specific colours in her depiction of the jellyfish. She gives it a symbolic dimension, interwoven with a potentially critical threat.

The group of works with coral reefs, on the other hand, refers to the area of the island complex of Fournoi Korseon (or commonly called Fournoi). The artist performs a study, we could say, on the form of corals. She renders them with a particular plasticity that is intensified thanks to the hidden lighting on the back of the works, but also to the fact that their figures seem to spring from the centre of the works and extend outwards, breaking through the boundaries set by the frame. Here too, colour dominates. Intense greens, red to burgundy tonalities, ochre… I would like to quote at this point a phrase that comes to mind from a book I recently read on the occasion of Evgena’s works: The colour… exists for the caress and intoxication of the eye. (D. Batchelor 2000).

In the wider area of Fournoi Korseon, west-southwest of Samos and east of Ikaria, significant reefs of limestone Red algae (known as “tragana”) have been recorded. These reefs constitute a unique natural heritage. However, many of them are completely destroyed and are still being destroyed, mainly by trawling. Evgena over-emphasises the aesthetic dimension of corals, making them objects of unique beauty, as they truly are, aiming to remind us of the natural wealth that is not always visible, but which exists, there, ‘hidden’ in the depths of the sea and is an important part of our ecosystem.

With the series of works “For the Protection of the Seas”, the artist binds her ability to create works that are not only pleasing to the eye, but also serve as an occasion for reflection, exploration and knowledge. The ‘colour’ atmosphere she constructs and encloses in each of these works also signals a resounding message to the viewers, an indirect attempt to move them to action.

Efcharis Mascha
Art Historian

Alexander the Great

When I was asked to write about the works of Stella Evgena as a historian, who graduated from the Department of History and Archaeology of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, I had in mind to focus on the historical elements that are touched through her work. However, coming into contact with the artist and seeing her work in person, I would say that I was more fascinated by her visual language and how her multifaceted personality is reflected in her creations. To analyze only the historical content of these works, based on my personal immersion in the particular subject matter, would, I believe, have removed from the work its potential as an object offered to the public primarily for aesthetic pleasure and mental uplift. I decided, therefore, to free myself from any limitations that my professional experience might have placed on me, and to try to approach Evgena’s work from my own perspective as a scholar, but also as an observer and art lover.

The work Alexander the Great is essentially a fragmentary image of Bucephalus – the mythical stratelates’ favourite horse – composed through multiple symbols, which, one by one, construct a complex historical narrative. Of great interest is the way in which Evgena manages, through a simple visual vocabulary, to make her own connections around the historical figure of Alexander the Great, crafting a riddle-work that develops through the thread she weaves using both mythological elements and historical documents.

The fragmentary image of Bucephalus (only one hip and part of the torso is depicted), which belonged to the Thessalian breed, refers to the figures of the relief horses that accompany the procession of the Panathenaea in the frieze that adorns the Parthenon. At the same time, one could observe that the way through which Evgena depicts the horse makes us, at first sight of the work, slightly sceptical about whether it is the body of an animal or a human being, because of the abstraction to which the artist goes, but also thanks to the curvature of the lines. Evgena thus chooses to emphasize, indirectly, Alexander’s deep connection with his horse, which he tamed as a young teenager, according to Plutarch. The hero becomes almost one with his four-legged companion and ally in the ventures from Thebes to Gaugamela and India.

The artist manages to bring to the present day an image that has traversed almost the entire history of art, using oil, fiber optics, plexiglass and hidden lighting to give the illusion of a third dimension to the flat surfaces. Always faithful to pop references, her visual language seems to have reached a complete assimilation of her studies and specialization in color.
And this is exactly where we come to the details of the horse’s mane, with the multiple tonalities of earthy colours. This is the only element of the work that has been rendered with such plasticity and detail. Here too, Evgena “deceives” us. But Bucephalus was known for its brilliant, jet-black colour! How is it possible that his mane could be fluttering almost sub-blond? The artist makes an allegorical connection between Alexander and his lineage from Hercules. The mane becomes a lion skin. Evgena’s inspiration comes from the coins (tetradrachms) of Amphiklia, where the obverse depicts the profile of Hercules wearing the head of the lion of Nemea. He, as the founder of the Temenid dynasty, was identified with Alexander.

But what is the particularity of this work in terms of content? In the foreground, running diagonally through the work, is the representation of a tightly tied rope, which, almost at the centre of the composition, is about to be violently cut by the bright blade of a sword. The symbolic legacy of the historical event of Alexander’s cutting of the Gordian knot, as described according to the literary evidence, seals Evgena’s work and transposes it into a personal wish and anticipation regarding the future ahead. A future that, viewed from a contemporary perspective, does indeed seek a drastic break with the pre-existing order, but does not bypass it completely without a deep understanding and a wise, if possible, reinterpretation of the unwritten laws of our cultural and historical heritage.

Efcharis Mascha
Art Historian

Outside my window

The Invention of the Familiar

All art originates from the mind of man, from our reactions to the world and not from the visual world per se, because every art is “cerebral”.

The art of Stella Evgena moves between the binary poles of the West and the Far East; abstraction and representation. The artist approaches the tradition of landscape painting through the conjugation of the three-dimensional craft and the two-dimensional canvas. Inspired by the view outside her window, Evgena simplifies forms and shapes in order to unveil the essential elements that make up a composition. The color and the light, as perpetual forces that stem from the unpredictable expressions of nature, stimulate our critical thinking and enhance our aesthetic pleasure.

In the work of Evgena, Japanese pine trees merge with the Mediterranean climate and the visual recording becomes a fictitious narrative. The artist discovers and reconfigures the structure of a tree, with the way in which she elucidates the “mental” process of visual perception.

In art history, landscape painting has always been one of the fundamental subject matters that explore the supplementary relationship between the objective and subjective world, rationalism and expressionism. Being aware of this, Evgena has chosen to remain neutral by avoiding any allusions and symbolic meanings in order to give a clear image of a deconstructed view that emerges from her personal involvement with the private space.

The artist fuses interior design with fine arts when she creates a discrete sense of depth by using plexi-glass surfaces and by playing with warm and cool colors as well as artificial lighting. In this way, her art pieces become a hybrid between painting, sculpture and craft. Through these multiple material experiments, she redefines the limits of each medium in order to highlight the infinite facets of visual language. Evgena dissolves the outline (a characteristic that corresponds to the Impressionist painting) and avoids the use of black, while she focuses on the bright hues that shape the sculptural dimension.

Stella Evgena re-invents the familiar view outside her window and invokes the power of light that transforms into minimal lines. Her daily experience is revived and modified the moment she starts to work, because the only trace that is left behind when we stop to observe nature, is the memory of this ephemeral sensation and the conscious or unconscious projections of ourselves onto the outer world. Finally, what does the repeated viewing of a tree offers us? The answer of the artist lies in the subjective interpretation of the spectator.

Elli Paxinou
Art historian

Ernst Gombrich, Art and illusion, A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation. London: Phaidon, 1960


The artist Stella Evgena, inspired by the Yacht Regatta that takes place in Spetses island, presents her new work entitled “Sailing” at the Akroproro gallery.
Evgena explores the harmonious relationship between man and nature through a series of painted constructions that depict sailing balloons. Her goal is to highlight the possibility of human skill interacting with elements of nature without damaging the environment. Specifically, the exhibition Sailing deciphers the ancient contrivance of the sailing balloon which needs a minimal energy of wind to push the yacht.

The artist is interested in the Piontillist technique, which is expressed by a virtuosic visual simplicity. She uses a unique mottled style that covers with color the shaped surfaces of plexi- glass and metal. The light, as the key element in her work, is artificially adjusted behind the composition so as to create a sense of the third dimension. Discovering multiple visual games with cold and warm lighting, Evgena reflects upon the infinite shades of the solar light and recalls the basic scientific theories of color.

Coming from the field of the applied arts, she combines abstraction with representation, whilst fusing painting with several constructions in a decorative and utilitarian way. The artist as craftsman simplifies any form and removes extra details in order to reach the central components of each object. Her argument is that through color and light, the shape of the object becomes visible, hence leading to the viewer’s imagination becoming the catalyst for the interpretation of her pieces.

Stella Evgenas total work is a synthesis of techniques and artistic traditions that unite the West with the Far East and also disclose the personal relationship of the artist with the magic of nature.

Elli Paxinou
Art historian

The dialectic relationship between nature and art

Trees that recall Japanese ideograms, branches and trunks in warm and cool colors, oil painting on plexi-glass that depicts a mixture between representation and abstraction, simple forms that are perfectly designed. Dreamy images are derived from a personal world that is projected on the spectator in a double way: natural and powerful at the same time, due to contradictions that deal with color and shapes. The world of Stella Evgena comprises of paintings, sculptures, constructions and objects of use.

The artist comes from the field of applied arts. In recent years she has attempted a leap in the world of artistic creation. Her education as well as her involvement with architecture enables her to have a clear sense of space, which facilitates to organize the structure of her visual space and to find balance between the sizes, volumes, tones, colours.

The subject matter, which is inspired by nature, varies. Although the core of her many works is the view of the pines as she sees them every morning from her window, while the sun falls upon them and joins the sea. This theme is then differentiated: an abstract scarf moves violently due to the air volume, a sailing balloon where its overall image is altered due to the force of the air, the Mediterranean fruits on the platter of her house, an outdoor bench that can be converted with an imaginative way into a sculpture that takes place on the outside. The artist transforms her artistic searches into creations that contain plasticity, sensitivity and movement.

Some of her works are composed by different levels of plexi-glass that are painted with oil using a singular dotted style. Others are made of brushed steel and are painted with metallic colors; internal lighting is used to achieve soft and smooth hues. Therefore, this is why her works cannot be solely considered beautiful images or structures.

Someone will argue that in total, the works of Stella Evgena belong to the passages of the acquisitions of the “aesthetic culture”, that is to say, to a large part of the Western civilization. The “aesthetic culture” includes artworks with special qualities that are destined for the enjoyment and the tranquility of the beholder. It is also a dialogue between Western culture and the Sino-Japanese tradition. These works, freed from beliefs and doctrines, express the free spirit of their creator, the joy to be complete, to be truly herself. That is a profit as much as for her as for the viewer.

Peggy Kounenaki, curator, art critic, writer. Athens, December 2015

Stella Evgena “Pantocrator”

Stella Eugena creates a contemporary work of art (oil on stainless steel) rendering one of the most significant themes in Byzantine iconography, that of Christ Pantocrator (“Ruler of All”, “Almighty”), through her personal visual vocabulary.

Her source of inspiration is another mosaic of “Pantocrator” (5th decade of the 11th century AD), earlier than the one of Dafni, that adornes the lintel of the narthex of the Katholikon at the Monastery of Hosios Loukas.

Evgena remains faithful to the orthodox iconographic tradition of the  antocrator,
according to which Jesus Christ – Creator, Savior and Judge – is depicted in a frontal position, looking directly at the viewer, wearing a red tunic (chiton) and a blue cape (himation) that symbolize his two natures, while a halo with the inscription IC-XC surrounds his head in glory. However, Evgena’s “Pantocrator”, while maintaining the imperativeness noticed in his typical Byzantine representations, is most notably characterized by a geniality that highlights his human nature. His expression (much closer to the expression of the “Pantocrator” located at the Monastery of Hosios Loukas, than that of the Monastery of Dafni) is less imposing and rather mellow, whereas particular emphasis is placed on the eyes.

Creatively transforming the Byzantine idiom into a contemporary visual language that strongly bears her own imprint, the artist combines the flatness and abstraction, as seen on the icons, with the pointillism of the Neo-Impressionists and the expressiveness of the Fauves. Color plays a crucial role in the work and has obvious references to the palette of ancient Greek art: the exceptional blue, which was imported from Egypt to the Mediterranean, produced by the precious stone lapis lazuli; the bright red and the yellow-orange, reminiscent of ochron, lampron, xanthon and kyanon, as described by Plato (Timaeus, 360 BC). Regarding the garments’ pleats, Evgena is limited to two tones of different colors (as opposed to the Byzantine technique, where we usually find two or three shades of the same color), with the warm orange adding intensity to the cool blue of the pleats and illuminating the outlines. While on the face and the hair, those small, distinct brushstrokes of different colors give the impression of one particular shade that the artist wishes to achieve.

Matina Charalampi
Art Theorist – Curator


Delvoye C., Βυζαντινή Τέχνη, εκδ. Δημ. Παπαδήμα, Αθήνα 1988

Gage J., Color and Culture. Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction, University of California Press, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London 1999

Νes S., The Mystical Language of Icons, Wm. B. Eermans Publishing Company, Michigan 2004

Stella Evgena’s Horses

“…the horses quickly galloped over the plain,
leaving the ships far behind; under their chest the dust
rose and hung in the air like a cloud or a whirlwind, and
their manes streamed behind them, blown by the wind’s gust.”
(Homer Iliad, Book 23, l. 364-372)

For Stella Evgena the horse is not only a symbol of power and pulchritude (a creature with perfect proportions), but also and most notably a means of visually exploring motion and conceptually approaching the ancient Greek history and myths.

In her series of works under the title “The Horses”, Evgena is representing the animal in different positions with an austere, rather strict visual vocabulary that has obvious references to Minimalism and Pop Art. The organic forms of the robust bodies acquire a playful lightness due to the bright colors, while the optical fibers, taking the place of the tail and the mane, offer a glowing, illustrious aspect.

Evgena returns again and again to one of the core artistic concerns in her practice: how painting might overcome its two dimensional essence, and gain access to the third dimension. Despite the painterly quality and the elaborate brushwork that brings in mind the pointillist techniques of the Impressionists, her works persistently transgress the flatness of painting – circumventing the greenbergian imperative for purity and autonomy of the medium – and suggest an expanded conception of the visual language, one that brings together painting, sculpture and light construction.

Evgena manages to develop a personal visual idiom that merges traditional with digital art, the modern with the contemporary element, craftsmanship with design, while at the forefront of her work exists nothing but archetypal images such as that of the horse. 

For Evgena the horse represents her strong bond not only with nature, but also with the historical past of Greece. Both archaeological finds and written sources have proven that the horse played a crucial part in ancient Greek society. Imported during the Middle Helladic period (c. 2000 BC – c. 1550 BC) it served as a means of transportation, an equipage in the battlefield, assistance for agricultural labor and most notably as a symbol of superiority. According to the Myth, the world’s first horse, Skyphios, was born out of Poseidon’s sperm, as it was strongly believed that such a sublime creature could only have divine origin. The Athenians were so fond of horses that they buried them along with their owners (as an example Herodotus states that Cimon, a popular Athenian statesman and general, was laid to rest next to his horses).

Evgena’s horses embody different species of the Greek horse such as the breed of Thessaly, the Macedonian breed, or the breed of Pindos. With their distinguishing rather small size, the horses of Thessaly were always inseparably bonded to Greek mythology, since it is commonly known that not only the myth of the Centaurs was inspired by them, but also Bucephalus, Alexander’s the Great horse, originated from that particular breed.

Gazing at Evgena’s series of horses one might bring in mind various representations of the animal, belonging to different periods in the History of Art. From the Parthenon Frieze (where over two hundred horses have been engraved) and the black-figured amphorae of the Classical Age, the Jockey of Artemision (Hellenistic period) or Saint Demetrius’ horse in the Byzantine icons, to Théodore Géricault’s “Horse frightened by Lightening” (1813 – 1814) and Franz Marc’s “Blue Horses” (1911). With a deep knowledge of how the subject has been visually represented in the course of time and a skilled technique varying in mediums and materials, Evgena succeeds in creating contemporary images of the horse that bare the traces of their predecessors and at the same time foster a fresh and playful depiction of it.

Matina Charalambi, Art Historian – Curator

Art In Theory 1900-2000, ed. C. Harrison/P. Wood, Blackwell, Oxford 2003
Krauss R., “Sculpture in the Expanded Field”, October, Vol.8 (Spring 1979)

The Horse as a Cultural Icon: The Real and the Symbolic Horse in the Early Modern World, ed. P. Edwards, K. A. E. Enenkel, E. Graham, Brill, Leiden – Boston 2012

Μαυρίδης Θ., «Η εξημέρωση του αλόγου και η παρουσία του στην Προϊστορική περίοδο του Αιγαίου» (PDF). Αρχειοθετήθηκε από το πρωτότυπο (pdf) στις 17 Ιουλίου 2011

«Ίππος: Το Άλογο στην Αρχαία Αθήνα», κείμενο έκθεσης, επιμ. Professor Jenifer Neils, Αμερικανική Σχολή Κλασικών Σπουδών Αθηνών, 20/01 – 05/06 2022