Theo Chronis' art is a result of a lifelong reflection on the nature of painting, representation and the image and what meaning these concepts might occupy today. His themes emanate from a personal sense of urgency using his own experience as a starting point.
Chronis' distinct series of artworks, combining traditionally opposing techniques and approaches, utilise a diverse range of familiar and unfamiliar elements to construct unprecedented visual entities, perceptions, worlds and facts.
By examining mimesis, visual perception and the function of image-constituting signs, he attempts to address a wide range of subjects in a multi-layered approach, hopefully involving the viewer in a way that they are confronted with the conditioning of their own perception and challenged to reconsider their biases.
By focusing on the boundaries of representation and abstraction -the obvious but often overlooked principle of imitation (mimesis)- and the Aristotelean pleasure that accompanies any recognition of forms, many of his works attempt to seduce the viewer into systems of presences which articulate threads of anthropological fact.
His entire body of work, apart from demonstrations, academic studies or other, professional work, can be divided into two broad categories both of which deal with the dialectics of representation and abstraction, with each exploring different aspects of it: Works in the first category follow a more improvisational layered approach, in the words of the artist: a purer and more introspective take on painitng, while works in the second category are planned, edited and constructed. Examples of the first approach are works in the series "Qualia" where an image is discovered through the process of painting itself, while works in the series "Monologues" belong to the second categroy where representational and often photographic images -taken by the artist himself or found- are juxtaposed with purely abstract and "raw" painterly marks to construct powerful and thought provoking contemporary narratives.
"When I work I question everything on a fundamental level and look at what exists with wide open eyes."
Constantly questioning contemporary cultural narratives, Chronis dialectically absorbs past traditions into daily artistic practice. He meditates on and combines historically and culturally diverse art styles, techniques and approaches: The academic realism of his student years, abstract expressionism, the neo-expressionism of the 80's, cubism, sumi-e painting and Japanese calligraphy, the technical qualities of dry and wet materials like soft pastels, oils and home-made watercolours and gouache, and, more recently, incorporating digital techniques into his workflow.
The various thematic axes found thoughout his work (bodies, couples, sex, animals, circus artists, water, androids, meditation, cannibalism, transfguration, mirrors and shadows - among others) are threads of meaning in what is fundamentally an investigation into the human condition beyond past, present and future.
Stories of human struggle, extended beyond superficial existential angst, irony, humour, transcendence and enlightenment set the tone for what is ultimately an invitation to the viewer to think laterally about the self and the other, about our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves, about society and individual, citizen and state, about representation and abstraction, digital and analogue, dimensionality and flat surface, internal and external experience, colour and line.
In the intermediate space between the work and the spectator's gaze, the Real and the True co-inhabit the same topological space whilst the abyss winks back at us.