“The Pristine and Ancient Waters of Philip Tsiaras” by lannis Ikonomidis

Ancient Waters, the Acqua Antica, are the primary elements of all creation, the great power of flowing water and the Mother of ultimate existence. Water, the eternal womb, and light, the universal surge, combine to nourish all that is.

Water in continuous movement has carved the essence of its long journey over the entire planet. It is precisely in this way that Art too, in its purest manifestation, flows throughout time with an urgency to connect and communicate with the rest of the world.

The Acqua Antica of Philip Tsiaras symbolize in an idiosyncratic way the interconnected, universality of Art. Tsiaras chooses water as the link, the Prima Materia, to envelope the subject. His portrayal of water is tempestuous and baptismal, evoking the primal essence of birth itself while allowing us to fathom the mysteriousness of the blue deep.

In the paintings of the Acqua Antica the sea cavorts with the heavens in the matrix of a mysterious and primordial relationship. Heaven, the Masculine element, meets the Sea, the Great Mother. Thus we observe the revelation and the apocalypse of this relationship embedded in the impasto and bravura of Tsiaras’ painting. Some of the paintings depict wild and simultaneously beautiful struggles–that of light and water, sky and sea. Fountains of water spring up like erupting volcanoes spraying liquid lava into the bright horizon. There are moments of vigorous and ambiguous intensity in the colorful palette of Tsiaras. One is never quite sure if the light is penetrating the water, or water the light. It is as if a secret experience is taking place, a mystical union, where the horizon ceases to exist in an effort to conceal this sacred moment. “Everything becomes one–and one everything” to recall the proverb of Heraclitus. In fact, “all is in flux”, everything moves, lives, conflicts, competes in an intense, harmonious contradiction.

The Masculine Heaven flirts with the Feminine Sea in a relationship of interdependency and mutual influence. Thus, Tsiaras colors the water vivid red when the hot sun expresses its passion, black when the light threatens a foreboding, cosmic collision, and aquamarine when the sea imposes its superiority over transactions with the light. Whenever experiencing the Acqua Antica, one hears sounds, the continuous turgid drone of water contact. Almost straining, one hears the ancient, hypnotic music of endless water.

The water of Tsiaras conversely gives us the crystal sensation of shattered glass–this in order to render, in the extreme, the sound of ultimate dispersal and the uproar of explosive birth. As if, out of chaos, order is born. Such crystalline chaos, crashes of light and sea, not only refracts light but amplifies sound. Therefore, we not only see the paintings of Tsiaras, we hear them, vibrating colors from the deep, outer edge of sound.

Within the constantly changing waters of Tsiaras there seems to live the secret of enigmatic life, dark and elusive, one that denies us ultimate access. Without such a secret we could never know the magic of the uncharted, or the beauty of the deep unknown.