GEORGE RAFTOPOULOS

Born 1972

George Raftopoulos was born in Sydney in 1972, the son of Greek parents. His childhood, from the age of five, was spent in the New South Wales town of Grenfell. In the 1970s, the Raftopouloses found themselves to be the only Greek family in the town. In this context, as a youth, George ruminated on questions of cultural identity. They are questions his paintings continue to plumb.

“The Greekness is inherent. Fortunately for me being the only Greek in Grenfell we had to prove ourselves. Up until that stage we where looked upon as complete exiles. It worked out in the end I try to explain these feelings to my children and they have no concept of racism – but I tell you it makes one stronger. It formed the foundation for me to make pictures. I think about it from time to time and it resonates a lot with me now that it was in fact the best education in my life. We lived in NY for 4 years and we were considered Aussies. However when I would go back to Grenfell we were wogs. It’s a funny dichotomy and, yes, it fuels paintings of self and makes me appreciate my Greek heritage more.” GR

George Raftopoulos speaks of his painting as “mapping the memory”. He refers to his paintings incorporating fragmentary references to places he has been, events he has witnessed, and sensations he has experienced. He refers, too, to his paintings touching aspects of his race memory, aspects of his cultural lineage.

“In the work of Sydney artist George Raftopoulos we see an intensely personal journey of love, doubt and empowerment. Yet like the Greek myths which hold specific significance for Raftopoulos, a child of Greek migrant parents, Raftopoulos’s predominantly autobiographical paintings are reaching for universal themes of hope, longing, fear, love and desire. The artist’s fears are mitigated by his heroic shadowy figures. These paintings undoubtedly speak of his heritage and history – Hellenic in conception yet Antipodean in execution… Raftopoulos, a skilled drawer and painter, layers colour and line to hide clues throughout his paintings. These nuances of line and the graphic quality of his mark making provide powerful moments for the viewer.” Ralph Hobbs 2012

Raftopoulos’ language is defined largely by three main elements; colour, brushstroke and the emerging and often prominent figures. Built upon his signature working of layers of paint his varying brushstroke brings to life the energy of each piece. Sometimes strong and defined, other times swift and delicate the expression of each line adds contrast and texture to the work. Raftopoulos’ use of colour is bold and decisive and often surprising. He has moved away from the more tonal canvas and now embraces the use of colour to inform the mood and story of each piece.

EXHIBITIONS
2016 “Planting the SEEDS’ TED X shift Northern Institute of Leraning, St Leonards Sydney Australia
2016 “The TRANSPORTED”, Nishi Gallery, New Acton, Canberra, ACT 9-29 May
2015 ‘MYTHIC Nation, Artereal Gallery Sydney Australia
2015 ‘Retrospecta’, Greek Embassy, Australian Capital Territory, Greek Ambassador, Australia
2014 ‘I Couldve been a Jockey’ – BEGA Regional, Gallery, BEGA NSW, Australia
2014 ‘BEAUX MONDE’ Mclemoi Gallery, Sydney Australia
2014 Hellenic Museum, Melbourne, Australia
2013 Hillsmith Gallery, Adelaide S.A
2012 Mclemoi Gallery, Sydney, Australia
2010 Tim Olsen Gallery Sydney, Australia
2010 Hillsmith Gallery Adelaide, S.A
2008 Tim Olsen Gallery Sydney, Australia
2008 Finders Lane Gallery, Melbourne
2008 Annual round table Exhibition New York Arts Club Grammercy Arts Club, New York USA
2007 Axia Modern Art Gallery, Victoria
2007 Hillsmith Gallery, Adelaide S.A
2006 Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney
2006 The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong
2006 Art Galleries Schubert, Queensland
2005 Axia Modern Art, Sydney
2005 Axia Modern Art, Mebourne
2004 Axia Modern Art, Sydney
2004 Axia Modern Art, Melbourne
2004 Gallery Philip Neville, Darwin NT
2008 Amanda Gillespie, New York, USA
2004 Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai China, With Australian Art Resources, Melbourne Australia
2003 Axia Modern Art, Melbourne
2003 Bark Modern Art, Hong Kong
2002 Axia Modern Art, Melbourne
2001 ‘Liquid’, Michael Carr Art Dealer, Sydney
2001 Paris Print Biennial, Australian High Commission, Paris, France
2000 ‘Bilbao’, Michael Carr Art Dealer, Sydney
1999 Volvo Gallery, Sydney
1998 Olsen Carr Art Dealers, Sydney
1997 Varga Gallery Bourdeaux, France
1996 Olsen Carr Art Dealers, Sydney

COLLECTIONS
New England Regional Gallery, NERAM Armadale NSW Australia gift of Stephen Hesketh
Bega Valley Regional Gallery Bega NSW Australia
Hellenic Museum, Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Gold Coast City Art Gallery/Museum, Queensland Australia
University of Western Sydney, Nepean NSW Australia
Molongolo Group. Canberra ACT, Australia
ABN AMRO Sydney Australia
Multiplex and Walker Corporation Australia
(INVESTA-Westpac) Property Fund Australia
Westpoint Corporation Australia
Novell Sydney Australia
NDC Global Australia
Hugos Lounge Sydney Australia
Landmine Survivors Network Washington DC USA
Pitcher Parteners Melbourne Australia
Credit Suisse Australia