Maria Kontis
Born 1969, Canberra, ACT

Maria Kontis makes realistic black and white pastel drawings from photographs and from life. Her work embraces an exact semblance, but at the same time manages to make something unearthly or unstable enter the drawing and slant its apparently straightforward agenda. One way she does this is by including the blur familiar to us from photography, memory or fading light, thus making the viewer strain to see and by extension to understand.

Kontis has recently made a series of drawings called Photographs that destroyed my life: 1946 – 1985 (2002). Included in the series are typical family album images, an adolescent boy, two young men on the beach, two people with a car, a woman, two girls. There is no coherent story which the drawings illustrate; rather, they show moments of suggestive meaning which echo with implied narratives through our experience and memories.

These works contain a surrealistic intensity, they project mysterious auras of contemplation, confounding any direct reading.

Stephanie Radok from her Samstag catalogue essay, The Point of Knowing
2003 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
2003 MFA, Chelsea College of Art & Design, London, UK 
2003 Master of Fine Art, College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales, Sydney 
1999 Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours), College of Fine Arts, The University of New South Wales, Sydney