Born in Mytilene, she studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1981-1986). She was granted a scholarship by the Athens School of Fine Arts (1988-1989) and one by the Greek State Scholarship Foundation (1989-1991) in order to continue her studies in London. Angeli attended the Royal College of Art (MA in Fine Arts, 1988-1990) and the Slade - St. Martin’s School of Art & Design (1990-1991) to study stage design. Lives and works in Athens, Greece.

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2009 Future Perfect, Athens Art Gallery, Athens
  • 2007 Woman in Frame, C.K. Art Gallery, Lefkosia, Cyprus
  • 2006 Home Everywhere, Athens Art Gallery, Athens
  • 2003 Common Space, Zina Athanasiadou Gallery, Thessaloniki
  • 2003 Private Space, Athens Art Gallery, Athens
  • 2000 Beyond Cities, Athens Art Gallery, Athens
  • 1999 The Other House, Zina Athanasiadou Gallery, Thessaloniki
  • 1998 The Inner Rooms, Kreonidis Gallery, Athens
  • 1995 Cities and Watch Towers, Kreonidis Gallery, Athens
  • 1992 Superimposed Landscapes, Kreonidis Gallery, Athens
  • 1988 Ora Gallery, Athens

Group Exhibitions

  • 2010 Erysichthon: contemporary reading of the myth,Hellenic American Union &Old Oil Mill Elefsina, Greece
  • 2010 Tracing Istanbul, Sismanoglio Megaro, Istanbul & “Technopolis”, Athens, Greece
  • 2010 Joannes Gennadius and his world, Gennadius Library, Athens, Greece
  • 2009 Shield & SymbolfromtheAncientVeiltotheHijab, Athinais Art Center
  • 2009 Landscape Stories, Heraklion, Athens, Greece and Rome, Italy
  • 2009 Α pale shade of white, Bellonia Foundation, Santorini
  • 2009 Nine Women Painters discuss about the environment,  Δήμος Νήσου Ίου
  • 2009 Painters’ Aegina,  Historical & Folklore Museum, Municipality of Aegina & “Melina” Cultural Centre, Municipality of Athens
  • 2009 Art in your feet, Tsouderos Foundation, Xanthi & Historical and Folklore Museum of Alexandroupolis
  • 2008 Greek Artists, Museum of Modern Art, Bucharest, Romania
  • 2008 Material Links - Between Greek & Chinese artists, Olympic Games 2008 Museum Of Contemporary Art, Shangai (MoCA), China; Technopolis Gazi, Athens & Center of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki
  • 2008 Black Heels, on poetry by Yiorgos Chronas, K-art Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 2007 Birth Place, Benaki Museum, Athens
  • 2007 Dionyssios Solomos, Moschandreou Art Gallery, Messolongi, Kosmas & Damianos Monastery, Venice, Italy & Eleftherias Park, Athens
  • 2006 LACOSTE 12.12, Benaki Museum, Athens
  • 2006 Once Upon a Time was Penelope Delta, College of Athens
  • 2005 Masks, Peri Technon Gallery, Athens
  • 2005 Visiting Halepas, The House of Exhibitions, Tinos
  • 2005 Aquarium, Saint Nicolas Bay Hotel, Crete
  • 2005 A Table, Skoufa Gallery, Athens
  • 2004 Book of Wishes, Ekfrassi Gallery, Athens
  • 2003 Sailing, Melina Merkouris Gallery, Hydra
  • 2002 30x40 cm, Athens Art Gallery, Athens
  • 2002 Small and Polymorphic, Stigma Gallery, Athens
  • 2001 Seat - Mirror - Ornament, Gallery 3, Athens
  • 1999 Charts, Kastella Art Centre, Piraeus
  • 1998 Greek Horizons - Contemporary Art from Greece York, Carlisle, London, England
  • 1998 Foci of the Gaze, Brussels
  • 1997 Greek Landscape Painting (19th and 20th Centuries), National Gallery, Athens
  • 1997 Urban Landscape, Eirmos Gallery, Thessaloniki Cultural Capital of Europe
  • 1997 Foci of the Gaze, Contemporary Art Centre, Larissa
  • 1997 Piraeus Street: Transformation of an Industrial Landscape, Athens
  • 1996 Art /Athina 4, Athens Exhibition Centre, Athens
  • 1996 Harmonious Blending, Kreonidis Gallery, Athens
  • 1995 Homage to El Greco, National Gallery, Athens
  • 1995 Young Artists, Melina Merkouris Gallery, Hydra
  • 1995 Between Humanism and Contemporary Art, Campus Arts, Ziridis, Athens
  • 1990 R.C.A. Graduates, Henry Moore Gallery, London
  • 1990 Art / London ʼ90 - Olympia, London
  • 1989 Arbeiten auf papier, Gallery Zur Alten Deutschen Schule, Thun, Switzerland
  • 1987 Young European Artists, Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • 1987 Panhellenic Art Exhibition, Piraeus
  • 1986 Graduates of the D. Mytaras Studio, Athens Conservatory
  • 1986 Young Greek Painters, Goulandris Museum, Andros
  • 1986 Four Painters, Miranda Gallery, Hydra

At the Edge of the City – At the Edge of Nature

Io Angeli’s Women

Io Angeli paints her women almost like a little girl dresses up her dolls. She clothes them, she places them just so, she’s proud of them like a little mother and she always watches over them, even from afar, when they leave her to go to their new homes.

Their clothes, painted with fluid or faded brushstrokes, made of the same materials as the fields around them, at times indicate palpably the inextricable relationship that links these women with a painted nature background in which they almost dissolve, or from which they are just about to emerge. Oftentimes, however, the women appear as if grafted onto this background, painted with sharp brushstrokes and clear outlines, and simply bearing marks of their origins in an environment which already is far distant.

On the edge of the urban as well as the natural landscape, these girl-women appear to stoically present to us the echo of their story, which was acted out in their absence. At times they appear to look the world outside their world in the eye, while at other times they appear to ignore us, spectators of a film of their destiny shot by someone else.

Figures both robust and delicate, like giant dolls in front of a doll’s house that can no longer hold them, seated or standing, facing forward or slightly to the side, but almost always in the lower right or left side of the image, they live, apparently, in the natural environment they selected – to the extent to which they were allowed.

The city, however, is there, on the borders, on a curving horizon, like a colourful ridge outline, that always defines the upper part of the painting and has left its traces clearly in the flaming street barriers of a protest march, in the forgotten office chair, in the remnants of a children’s playground, in the director’s chairs of an urban life, on which these women sit, awaiting – what? Each, with her own attribute, is the star of a story that quickly reveals itself not to be a fairy tale: a goat-sceptre of a grass kingdom; a prickly pear cactus that is a mute friend; a pair of see-saws: games that were never played when it was their time; a sofa – life-saving flower-bed; a fishing line that is the thread of life; a pink bunny – mourning a lost tenderness.

All of this is imbued with Io Angeli’s great love for small enigmatic symbols that constitute simultaneously powerful visual entrance points into her images – black birds, Mickey Mouse ears, goldfish bowls, red hair – as well as for the titles of her works and for the words themselves.

If danger enters here cloaked in the very love that makes us wonder what the story of these women might be, then the lagoons of her colours and the meadows of her artful brushstrokes come to rescue Io, streaming over the canvas to celebrate the joy of painting. Whirlwinds of green pigment invade the furnishings of claustrophobic rooms and transform them into springtime lines/fields abolishing the concept of inside and out. Meagre mists of blazing yellows and reds become the bright lights of remembrance of a city at night. Pyramids like palettes take on the roles of tents in a settlement and post-impressionistic memories banish all black from the shadows of the foliage and the well-drawn female bodies. Twirling designs and clouds of colour blossom on the heads of women and on their chairs; pure colour zones mark distance in regions where even potent diagonals do not reveal depth, but instead confirm the power of a bustling painted image that, above all, wishes to be viewed in the manner of children, from top to bottom, not with the mind, but with the eyes.

Io Angeli is proud of her garlands of asymmetrical buildings which glimmer along the upper borders of these works, but the dream-like flora down below is the place where her women will now live. Without being weighed against the distant apartment blocks, the sight of flowers would be only the magnificent surface of an old wall. And without the blossom-strewn land, the factories would not remain innocent. The city and nature probably won’t ever encounter each other again. However, the female figures that found themselves between them reconciled the boundaries and brought about a silent but certain beauty.

Elizabeth Plessa

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