Martha Zmpounou Art
Martha Zmpounou is a visual artist and a Lecturer (University of the Arts London) based in London. She holds a degree in Fine arts and an MA in Painting from Aristotle University of Fine arts (Greece) and an MA from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art (UK). She has been awarded several awards including the Cass Art award from the Royal Institute of painters in watercolors, the St Cuthbert Mill watercolor prize, the De Laszlo Foundation Award from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Secret Art Prize, and she was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize and the Ashurst Emerging Artist Prize. Her work has been exhibited and published widely in the UK, Sweden, Germany, and Greece. Some of her exhibitions in the UK include Artworks open, National Open Art Competition, Jerwood Drawing Price, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Royal Institute of Watercolor Painters, The Sunday Times Watercolor Exhibition, the Royal Society of British artists, The Threadneedle Prize, The Discerning Eye, Modern Panic III, Xhibit and AOI’s best of British Illustration Images 35. Her work was selected to be published several times at Aesthetica’s annuals, Creative Works, ArtMaze Magazine, and Create! Magazine. Her professional portfolio also includes collaborations with several clients including Nike and
UAL and Nick Knight’s Showstudio.
My recent work is focused on the concept of the portrait as a space of and for expression and exposure. Using a wide array of models that range from contemporary fashion to early 20th-century photography and everyday life, I seek to undermine the glorification of an idealized polished self, usually evident in traditional portraiture, and invoke the fragmentary and the cryptic. Based on water-based media, collage, masking, and layering are processes used to build figures whose identities appear to emerge out of a play of hiding and revealing. Fashion and architectural elements, which in some works accompany the figure, are seen as fragments of an untold story, thus amplifying this function. Heavily influenced by Bergman’s film ‘Persona’, the balance between hiding and exposing, the illustrious and the mundane, comes through with the cryptic expression of the portrayed figure, a figure often fragmented, masked or half-complete.