Chryssa (1933 - 2013)

The bright lights and signage of Manhattan became an important source of inspiration for the Greek-born artist Chryssa Vardea-Mavromichali, who emigrated to New York from Athens in the early 1950s. She was an early pioneer of light art and luminist sculpture. She went by the mononym “Chryssa”. Once apprenticed to a sign-painter, Chryssa’s portfolio Chinatown recalls the symbols and colors of neon signs and graphic design. Throughout the 1980s Chryssa produced large paintings and wall reliefs based on Chinese calligraphy and signage of Chinatown. Chryssa’s fascination with language began during her experience learning English in the United States. Each print in the series offers a color variation on a single Chinese character, which in its seriality, transforms into a minimalist form and typographical exploration beyond its initial meaning.

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