George Raftopoulos was born in Sydney in 1972, the son of Greek parents. In the 1970s, the Raftopouloses found themselves to be the only Greek family in the New South Wales town of Grenfell. George had questions of cultural identity in his youth and continues to do so in his paintings today.
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.
Raftopoulos’s paintings have always possessed an expressionist fierceness. He describes his method of painting as an “interactive process”, in that it is undertaken without the safety net of preliminary studies. His work of the mid-1990s was peopled by human/animal hybrids, inhabiting a world that combined playfulness with anxiety and apprehension. Line plays a key role in his current painting, and his line is both economical and swift. It is as firm and elastic as cartilage. Most of Raftopoulos’s works of the last couple of years have turned on a single colour, which sets the temper of the painting. Recently that sole colour has often been a primary colour.
Many of Raftopoulos’s paintings are inscribed with a single word, printed in the Greek alphabet. These are generally references to figures in history, particularly Greek history, whose presence or actions have influenced the outcome of events that touch us still.
As well as Greek words, his paintings often incorporate numerals, usually dual digits. Their significance remains entirely oblique: they may relate to sensitive military formations, engineering calculations, dates, or map coordinates; they may have secret strategic import, or they may be utterly innocuous. They are Delphic and inscrutable.
-Peter Pinson – Professor – College of Fine Arts – UNSW
Lives Works Sydney, Australia
BAVA University Western Sydney, Australia
First Class Honours, Painting, Sydney College of the Arts,
Sydney University, Australia
2016 Nishi Gallery Hotel Hotel Canberra, ACT 9-29 May.
2015 Finalist Fishers Ghost Art Prize, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown, Australia.
2015 'MYTHIC Nation, Artereal Gallery Sydney Australia.
2015 'A Retrospective', Greek Embassy, Australian Capital Territory, March 25th Greek Independence Celebration, 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 Flinders 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
PRESS / INTERVIEWS
7/5/16 - Talking With Painters
Private Commission for major yacht construction - New Zealand
Gold Coast Art Gallery, Queensland
University of Western Sydney, Sydney
The Art Trust, Sydney and Melbourne
ABN AMRO, Sydney
Impulse Airlines, Wagga Wagga
Multiplex and Walker Corporation, Wharf Nine, Sydney
Babcock and Browne, Sydney
Westpoint Corporation, Sydney
The Royal Flying Doctors Service
The Chocolate Factory, Sydney
Westpac Property Fund, Sydney
Maddens Solicitors, Sydney
NDC Global, Sydney; Hugo's Lounge, Sydney
Landmine Survivors Network, Washington DC, USA
Prebon Yemone Brokers, New York, USA
Pitcher Partners, Melbourne
Credit Suisse, Melbourne