About the Artist
Born in 1956, Peter Kartsounis is an artist based in Melbourne Australia: he has a record of extensive formal study in Fine Arts from 1975 to 2004, and has been exhibiting since 1980.
From 1975-77 he gained a B.A. (Fine Art) from RMIT University, and followed this in 1981 with a graduate Diploma in Fine Art (Painting). Much later, in 2004, he completed a Master of Arts (Visual Arts) by research, also at RMIT University. Throughout this period, his work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows in Australia, Korea and China, and is held in various private and public collections.
Surveying his career from his earliest exhibitions to the present, the artistic output of Kartsounis can be sharply divided into two streams, separated by a self-imposed hiatus that lasted from 1995 to 1999.
The first stream dealt with an ongoing Western tradition of figuration, and was characterised by a continuous refinement of technical facility in pursuit of an objectively realist style. The second phase (represented by this website) announced a deliberate break with this tradition, a conscious process of “unlearning” previous technical skills, and a search for non-objective, ideational content that replaced earlier concerns over representational fidelity.
Several influences led to this dramatic shift in style and thematic concerns. First was the growing desire of Kartsounis, at a mid-career stage, to “reinvent” himself as an artist – to embrace, in his studio practice, aspects of process more concerned with journeys of discovery than with the execution of pre-conceived imagery. The second influence was an opportunity, in 1998, to live and work in Darwin, where Kartsounis engaged with that city’s substantial community of Aboriginal Australians and learned to appreciate the value of their cultural perspectives compared to Western traditions. Another major factor was Kartsounis’ decision, in 2000, to return to formal study, using an M.A. research project to clarify and resolve his future directions as an artist.
Taken together, all these influences compelled Kartsounis to follow new directions far removed from his earlier devotion to figurative subjects. Still evolving, he leaves it to others to decide whether his art at this point in time is conceptual or abstract, profound or decorative, optical or rhetorical.
As a best-case scenario, Kartsounis hopes his future artworks can encompass all these things at once, depending on the eye of the viewer.