Paul Anagnostopoulos (b. 1991 Merrick, NY) is an artist working in acrylic and oil painting. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from New York University in 2013 with his BFA. He interned at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy during the 2013 Biennale. Paul has completed 10 acclaimed artist residencies in the states and abroad, most notably the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), the Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), and the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists (Reykjavík, Iceland). He presented solo exhibitions at the Leslie-Lohman Project Space (New York, NY), GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (Reading, Pennsylvania), and 405_Gallery (online). Paul’s work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art Archives and Library, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and Yale University. His work has been featured in Artnet News, VICE, and Friend of the Artist. Paul is currently pursuing his MFA at Hunter College in New York, NY.
Paul AnagnostopoulosDon’t Have the Time for Another Lie, 2019
Paul AnagnostopoulosNothing Will Keep Us Together, 2020
Paul AnagnostopoulosGirl You Better Try to Have Fun, 2018
Paul AnagnostopoulosI Do Nothing but Think of You, 2018
Paul AnagnostopoulosKnow That It’s Over, 2021
Paul AnagnostopoulosThis Doesn't Have to End in Tragedy, 2019
Paul AnagnostopoulosI Swear I Loved You, 2020
2023 MFA Candidate, Hunter College, New York, NY.
2013 BFA, New York University, New York, NY, Summa Cum Laude.
2022 Transfer My Tragedy, OCHI Projects, Online.
2020 We Can Be Heroes, Leslie-Lohman Project Space, New York, NY.
2020 Paul Anagnostopoulos, 405_Gallery, Online.
2018 Holding Out For A Hero, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, Reading, PA.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2022 Graphite Stew, Upper Market Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
2022 Punta De Vista, Art at The Citadel, Miami, FL.
2021 Expanded Field, OCHI Aux, Los Angeles, CA.
2021 Ode to Green, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn, NY.
2021 New Ideal, Rule Gallery, Denver, CO.
2021 QUE(e)RY, LatchKey Gallery, New York, NY.
2021 Beauty at the Swamp's Center, 205 Hudson Gallery, New York, NY.
2021 Set/Rise, Art at The Citadel, Miami, FL.
2021 New Visions, Vantage Art Projects, Online.
2021 Pride, Vermont Studio Center, Online.
2021 Heatwave, Dodomu Gallery, Online.
2021 Tom of Finland Art & Culture Festival 2021: Raw Anatomy, Tom of Finland Foundation, Online.
2021 Hellenic Art, Hellenic Museum of Michigan, Detroit, MI.
2021 The Era of Change, Visionary Projects, Online.
2020 Unnatural Intimacy, SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, NY.
2020 Keep for Old Memoirs, Young Space, Online.
2020 What is Fear?, Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival, Online.
2020 Celestial Opera, Human Cathedrals, Paradice Palase, Online.
2020 Trust Fall, Hunter College MFA Program, Online.
2020 Unleashing Magic, Create! Magazine + PxP Contemporary, Online.
2020 Bull in a China Shop, Tchotchke Gallery, Online.
2020 The Quarantine Collection, Banditto Art + Dynamisk, Online.
2020 Fountain of Youth, Saint Maison Gallery, Online.
2020 Technicolor Heroes, temp.img, Online.
2020 That's How The Light Gets In, AucArt, Online.
2019 Ad Astra Per Aspera, The Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY.
2019 Summer 2019, Boccara Art Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY.
2019 RE: RE: RE: patterns, La Bodega Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.
2019 Chlorine Tidal Wave, Field Projects, New York, NY.
2019 WERQ, Cluster Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.
2018 The Maple Terrace Residency Program, Brooklyn, NY.
2017 Artist in Residence at the Hafnarborg Museum, Hafnarfjörður, Iceland.
2016 Painting Residency at Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT.
2016 Open Studio Residency at Brooklyn Art Space & Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn, NY.
2016 The Guanajuato Residency at the AIAR, Guanajuato, Mexico.
2016 The Wassaic Artist Residency at the Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY.
2016 The SÍM Residency at the Association of Icelandic Artists, Reykjavík, Iceland.
2015 Copy Shop Residency at Endless Editions, New York, NY and The Gateway Project, Newark, NJ.
2014 The Akumal International Artist Residency (AIAR), Akumal, Mexico.
2014 Rancho Paradiso, Joshua Tree, CA.
Foundation of plenitude.
Rupture of plenitude.
Regeneration of fragments.
My process is a constant attempt to put the hypothetical broken vase back together again. I aggregate various histories, beliefs, and symbols as a way to explore mythological desire and melancholy. My narrative images are open-ended to reflect the varying versions of similar oral traditions. The paintings act as portals to an idyllic paradise, serving as postcards from a journey that may or may not have been experienced. These unclear memories invoke the rosy longing of nostalgia. In Sappho’s words, there is glucopicron, sweet-bitter, or ambivalence to the works. Two opposing concepts coexist: abundance and loss, pleasure and pain, love and agony. This carries through to the aesthetic decisions regarding depth and flatness. The picture plane’s surreal contradicting layers of dimensionality create a vibration and a warmth. My palette operates similarly and aims to both seduce and invite the viewer into an arduous account. The vibrant colors allude to kitsch and camp, allowing for moments of humor and melodrama to enter the work. The scene’s players are lifted from ancient art, gay erotica, and wrestling competitions. These hyper masculine images are manipulated to appear sensitive and emotive. With a shifted focus towards intimacy and tenderness, they remain suspended in a fantasy of fulfillment. I engage mythology, cultural motifs, and religious rituals as an apparatus for my own catharsis. My thought process and references function rhizomatically, with layers of significance on both universal and personal levels. Ultimately, the works celebrate queer storytelling.
Can you discuss the use of landscape within your work?
I see each painting as a portal to a timeless realm, an exploration of a universal understanding of “paradise”. All of the landscapes are from my photos or drawings. I’ve had the chance to travel a ton thanks to many artist residencies over the years. I’ve developed connections to these places and deeply care about the time I spent there. Whether it be above the clouds in Maui, behind the waterfalls of Southern Iceland, or in the jungles of Riviera Maya- my environment strongly influences me and permeates into my paintings.
Can you speak about the role of geometry in your work?
With a lot of my recent works, I was thinking about breaking up the square and the rectangle. While preparing for a solo show at the Leslie-Lohman Project Space in Soho, a perfect square gallery space, I realized the space with my rectangular and square canvases was just too square. That led me to begin exploring circles, ovals, and triangles. Considering my love for ancient history and Renaissance painting, it made a lot of sense to start making tondos.
Tell us about your process.
I typically work on three to four paintings at a time. When I get in the zone, bouncing between canvases I lose track of time. That meditative trance when time just sort of stops is my favorite part of painting.
I do have a lot of plans for my work and everything is super regimented, but things change depending on how I respond to the painting in progress. I always start with drawings. I had a computer that was way too old to handle Photoshop so I did my own sort of bootleg Photoshop for a while, where I would just draw on different layers of tracing paper. I would have one layer for the figures, one layer for the florals, and so on. Everything was broken up into layers to figure out the composition. Then the final drawing would be based off of the final layering. If a flower didn't work, or if the figure didn't work with the sort of composition, that would be an easy way for me to switch it out before I commit to the painting.
My best ideas come to me when I'm not thinking about painting. I'll be in a museum, I'll be driving, I'll be out with friends, etc and I could see a certain image or see the way the light hits something and that will spark an idea. From there, I'll go through all of my saved references. My work is heavily based in research. I'm very interested in ancient/classical history, the Renaissance, Medieval art, pretty much most of art history prior to our time. When I'm planning paintings in my sketchbook, they aren't so much about drawing, but more about writing. I'll do quick thumbnail drawings surrounded by words to begin building the image.
I pretty much save everything. I have books and books of plans for paintings that will go into larger or other works. They sometimes repeat when I'm really interested in a certain image or composition. I've mixed a bunch of swatches of colors that I like to use. I write what paint combination it is on the back to build my whole library of color formulas. I'll usually start thinking about a painting in terms of a few colors. I pull from sunsets, closeups of flowers, or larger landscape photos that I've taken. I figure that if a palette works in nature, then it’s going to work in a painting.
What are you working on now?
The big thing that I've been working towards this past year is a solo show with Dinner Gallery opening this September. One of the pieces I’m working on for that show is the biggest painting I've ever made; it has been really interesting and challenging to scale up and see how the work changes. I have a solo show that recently launched online withOCHI Projects in LAand am in a group exhibition of all graphite drawings withUpper Market Galleryin San Francisco. It's the first time I'm showing a drawing. Working with graphite was a way to explore luminosity and depth without the many variables color provides. I've been bringing that discovery into my painting; everything I do feeds back into what I'm working on. I'm also pretty busy with Hunter right now. Being past the halfway point of the MFA program, I'm starting to plan my thesis work.