Newcastle-based Panayiotis Kalorkoti's strongly swaying female forms at first appear beguiling. But on closer view these figures resemble strange blank manikins, missing eyes, ears, a nose, mouth or hair.
They are surprising and insubstantial forms caught in a moment.
Panayiotis, 48, who studied fine art at the University of Newcastle in the late 70s says: "The pictures represent a moment.
"There are series of two or four paintings where the figure has moved only marginally. It is a cinematic effect."
Subjects for his exhibition In Motion are all women painted in watercolour and acrylic over the last five years.
The images are supposed to be seen in sequence like a strip cartoon. Although not based on photographs, the paintings are like single frames.
The painter doesn't use life models but chooses to watch ordinary people in ordinary situations.
He says: "I take photos to use as references. I try and capture the immediacy of a moment in the street, a club or cafe, rather than study it over and over again. I go to different places for inspiration and like ballet, opera and modern dance. I like graceful movement and the sense of defying gravity.
He adds: "I also try and capture a feeling, whether thoughtfulness, melancholy or happiness."
Panayiotis, who lives in Jesmond, was commissioned by the National Garden Festival in Gateshead in 1990 and has since been artist in residence in Cleveland and for The Grizedale Society in Cumbria. He grew up in poverty in northern Cyprus with no running water or electricity and moved to London aged nine.
Critic Elspeth Moncrieff writes in his exhibition catalogue: "Like his mother, the women in this series are strong and empowered. In perpetual motion, they are striving, searching for something. They are not sexual, but the embodiment of the free, female spirit."
Panayiotis adds: "As an artist I try not to create too beautiful a painting. The temptation is not to make the picture look too nice or too horrible. You have to find an in-between, a bit like life. You have to find a compromise."
He adds: "The women are strong and independent, not feeble or victims in any way. I am attracted to independent people. Every artist's work is a reflection on their own lives, how you think and view things."
* In Motion is at The Biscuit Factory, Stoddard Street, until May 2. Contact: (0191) 261-1103.