Published July 29, 2022
Online Viewing Room: Paul Anagnostopoulos
Paul Anagnostopoulos's process is a constant attempt to put the hypothetical broken vase back together again. Paul aggregates various histories, beliefs, and symbols as a way to explore mythological desire and melancholy. His 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. Three opposing concepts coexist; abundance and loss, pleasure and pain, and 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. Paul's 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 hypermasculine images are manipulated to appear sensitive and emotive. With a shifted focus towards intimacy and tenderness, they remain suspended in a fantasy of fulfillment. Paul engages mythology, cultural motifs, and religious rituals as an apparatus for his own catharsis. His thought process and references function rhizomatically, with layers of significance on both universal and personal levels. Ultimately, the works celebrate queer storytelling.
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.