Portalaki Sophia (1947)

Born in Herakleion, Crete in 1947, she had her first lessons in painting and Byzantine icon painting locally before moving to Athens in 1965 and taking classes in freehand drawing at the preparatory school of Panos Sarafianos and Vrasidas Vlachopoulos. In 1965 she enrols in the Athens School of Fine Arts and studies, on a Greek state scholarship, painting and mosaic under N. Nikolaou, Y. Mavroidis and E. Voilas (1965-1970). Then she goes to Paris to study painting at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts (1972-1973).
Her overall oeuvre is characterised by a geometric quality, the dominance of an abstract script and a sense of static stability, all of which lead to an austere and harmonious outcome. The works she presented on her first solo exhibition at the Ileana Tounta Centre for Contemporary Art in 1992 are divided into two series: Epipeda, dominated by squares covered by different zones of colour to create a grid-like effect, and Fyges, where the diagonal forms create a dynamic sense of motion in space, often together with hovering circles. The dominant colours in both series are red, blue and green, with yellow and black in a complementary role. In 1996 she presents at the Ileana Tounta Centre for Contemporary Art her “blue” period, with large surfaces in blue tones demarcated by black or red lines. In the next series (Manhattan 1997-2002; Pierides Gallery, 2002) the compositions are based again on geometric shapes, mainly squares and parallelograms, which emphasise the vertical and horizontal axes and determine the directions of movement. The chromatic range goes from blue to green, orange and red in many different shades.
She is also very active in icon painting, having decorated church interiors and collaborated with Greek museums in making replicas of Byzantine icons.
She has presented her work in five solo exhibitions and has participated in several group shows in Greece and abroad. Her works can be found in public and private collections in Greece and abroad.