Eleni Pratsi

United Kingdom

Cyprus-born artist Eleni Pratsi graduated in 2014 with a Diplôme National Supérieur d’Arts Plastiques with Distinction (the equivalent of a master’s degree in fine art), from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, where she was also awarded a Diplôme National d’Arts Plastiques (BA in fine art) two years earlier. She lives and works between Nicosia (Cyprus) and Paris. Eleni has had a passion for abstract painting since discovering the work of French artist Bernard Frize, who remains her greatest influence. Like Frize, Eleni focuses on the materiality of paint and creates work that is process orientated. "What I love about painting is inventing new working processes," she explains. Her distinctive technique juxtaposes a lengthy and meticulous canvas preparation process with a rapid and somewhat random application of paint. Using a variety of tools (her "precious assistants"), including masking tape, craft knives and compasses of all sizes, she creates stencils to cover the canvas, pours on paint, then gently tilts the work in every direction so the colours flow and merge, taking on a life of their own. Chance and gravity play a key role. Eleni's artistic practice has led her towards an absolute attachment to colour, which she approaches as the main subject in each of her seductively tactile and deceptively simple paintings. Circles are her principal motif. "Inspired by a childhood memory, I treat the circular form as if it were the only letter in my artistic alphabet. When I took my first art class at the age of 11, my teacher asked us to draw a circle and mine turned out to be perfect. I recall both her unbounded enthusiasm and my feeling of pride for having drawn a perfect first circle," she explains. Inspiration for her work can come from anything around her – a TV programme, an advert, an exhibition, music, a feeling or nature, for example. Eleni has taken part in many group exhibitions, including most recently Woman’s Essence at the Hernandez Art Gallery, Milan (2016), Les Voyageurs at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Paris (2015-2016), Couleurs Power at the Galerie My Art Goes Boom in Avignon (2015) and Lush Art in Austere Times at the Is Not Gallery in Nicosia, Cyprus (2015).