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28 MARCH - 22 APRIL, 2023

LV 1, The Nicholas Building, corner Flinders Lane and 37 Swanston st, Melbourne  

Zac Koukoravas’ multilayered panels of glass and perspex are characterized by a dualistic use of shadow and light, depth and space, revelation and concealment, history and memory. Working within a series of self-imposed parameters his creative process summons infinite possibilities within limitation and generate slick visual images full of suspended space, flux and multiplicity.

For his forthcoming exhibition, High Fade, Zac Koukoravas demonstrates his ongoing interest in the generative power of abstraction. Working loosely with ideas of change and transition - derived in part from his own experience of aging and the shifting perspectives that brings - this new series, vividly charged in line, tone, and colour, further utilises his signature style of illusionary depth to present works that challenge the true state of visual perception.

High Fade | Catalogue Essay

Katy Greenland, 2023

A fascination with the relationship between form and space, between depth and dimension underlines Zac Koukoravas’ ongoing interest in the generative power of abstraction. His current exhibition, High Fade, offers a stunning series of works full of suspended space, flux and multiplicity. Exploiting the transparent nature of his material supports, Koukoravas’ creative process results in sublimely geometric abstract images, rich layers of paint applied meticulously using airbrushes and spray paint. These overlapping, asymmetrical triangles suggest a sense of fragmentation, the result of which is gestalt: luminous, glowing, soft yet stark and always resolved.

The shapes within all the High Fade compositions appear fragile, floating in a place that is both microscopic and vast. Within this dialogue of contrast; sharp and soft, opacity and transparency, forms both rise and recede, moving from background to middle to foreground and back again. The viewer’s encounter similarly moves into and through the work, inhaling and exhaling with the ebb and flow of the work. These new works feature a mesmerizing electric/neon green that Koukoravas has created specifically for these works. “I usually use ready-made colours. Through their application on the surface material, a natural blending process occurs with unique results. But for this series I was looking for a specific luminous ‘electric green’, not quite the fluorescent I could grab off a shelf, but something a little softer, yet also complex in its tonality. I wanted a mixture of yellows, greens and white. It reminds me of fresh moss or a blade of grass in the sun. A force of nature. A source of life.” This neon green, along with myriad other colours in the range of teals, blues, aquas and greens begets a set of interconnecting themes. Electric green as life force. Breathe in, breathe out. Reflect.

Using his inimitable technique – harnessing highlights and fades to ensure a smooth and gradual transition between different shades of colour – Koukoravas demonstrates his skilled precision with the airbrush and his adroit capacity for control, patience, intensity and colour theory. The works offer a thoroughly modern take on the sfumato technique, employed since the Renaissance to soften colour transitions. Working loosely with ideas of change and transition, derived in part from his own experience of ageing and the shifting perspectives that it brings, this new series uses illusionary depth to challenge ideas of perception, both visual and experienced. 

Continuing the theme of transition, as Koukoravas reflects on his mortality, these works serve as a channel through which the viewer too can start their own private conversation. These images ask, what does self-awareness really mean and how can one engage with it? Lost in the deep spatiality, the ‘far away’ aspect each works evokes, the viewer is also aware of their own image reflected back in these highly polished surfaces. In this way High Fade offers an experience of confluence.

Duality is always brought to bear in Koukoravas’ process of making. “I love working with my hands. There is a moment in the studio where all the external noises and a myriad of internal thoughts become silent. I am alone and the simplest of tasks is all-engrossing. It is within these moments of meditative transcendence that I find myself in emotional states of euphoria, peace and understanding”. Perhaps these moments of creative flow and connectedness are similar to the psychosomatic euphoria one feels when high or ‘in the zone’. The viewer shares a space with the artist, one in which there exists both silence and noise, peace and kinetic energy. These notions of synchronicity are evocative: process toward outcome via actualisation. In previous exhibitions Koukoravas has invited engagement with ideas of self in relation to fundamental aspects of the world; nature, crises, or order and chaos. This time his work goes deeper, provoking engagement with the interior life, personal vulnerabilities and strengths. With this new collection of works, he invites us to reflect, see and reconsider our sense of self.

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