Eleanna Anagnos is a Greek-American artist and curator residing in Mexico City and New York City. She earned her MFA in Painting from the Tyler School of Art and a BA with honors and distinction from Kenyon College with a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been featured in The New York Times, BOMB Magazine, Hyperallergic, Maake Magazine, and Artnet, among other publications. She has received awards from Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, The Grant Wood Art Colony, The Rauschenberg Foundation Residency, Yaddo, BAU Institute at the Camargo Foundation, The Anderson Ranch, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, and The Joan Mitchell Foundation. For eight years Anagnos was a Co-Director at Ortega y Gasset Projects, an artist-run, non-profit gallery located in Brooklyn, NY, supporting artists from marginalized and underrepresented communities. Her curatorial projects have been featured in Art in America, The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail and the New York Observer.
"Over the last twenty years, I have put together an extensive amount of research towards the intersections and thresholds between painting, sculpture, and drawing. My concerns are centered around expanded consciousness, transference, primal memory, symbol-making, touch, ritual, color and meaning formation. Since 2017, paper pulp has become the material that has best allowed me to expand this investigation and has opened a broad field of creation for me. My way of working with paper comes from an experimental process-oriented practice, using pulp as a touchable material and to create a sense of intimacy. Toggling between analog and digital processes, my work is haptic, tactile and introspective. I create three-dimensional experiences where the work might be hung from the ceiling with monofilament so it appears to be suspended in space, or hung from the wall in such a way that it seems to be floating off it. Paper pulp is an extremely dynamic medium, however, the most fascinating feature of paper pulp is the duality between its factual lightness and its appeal of weightiness. These deceptive or paradoxical aspects of my work can function to attract viewers’ attention and expand their awareness."
Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.
I grew up in Chicago. My mother took me to the Art Institute regularly. In my naiveté, I thought all cities had museums as big and fabulous until I grew up and learned just how special of an experience it was to frequent this extraordinary place regularly.
What kind of work are you currently making?
I've spent the better part of the past three years in Mexico City expanding my practice’s engagement with paper pulp, which I began using in 2017 to create work that bridges material, subject, and object as an investigation into themes of collective consciousness. In addition to using amate, abaca, linen, and cotton fibers, the work also includes ceramic elements, stones, urethane, rubber, reclaimed newspaper, glass, holographic foil, and acrylic, oil, and vinyl paints. By pushing the limits of the pulp’s potential as a medium, I circumvent expectations related to all the materials used, setting up a deceptively slow read. My work behaves like objects or vessels that are active agents capable of containing and projecting worldviews and perceptions. As the body is its own vessel of fibrous connections, the scale and tactile nature plays with the viewer’s body and their relationship to the work, imparting a deeper connection through the legible physicality contained. Right now I'm experimenting with the the idea of making mobiles- adding movement in relaxation to the body.
What is a day like in the studio for you?
I'm in the process of learning to manage my time differently now that I have a newborn. Usually, preparing to get into the studio is a big part of my process. I wake up and do the Sudarshan Kriya, a breathing technique I learned 19 years ago in India. Then I practice Transcendental Meditation. Afterwards, I eat breakfast and then I go to the studio which is in my building, where I work on several different works at a time. At any given time, I might be mixing material, making molds to add to my material library, dying paper pulp, working with resin, sawing work, sanding work, making vectors to get work CNC routed. Or a work day might entail a trip to a museum or ancient site or a walk in my neighborhood- where I fill my well.
What are you looking at right now and/or reading?
I recently went to Mitla, an archaeological sight in Oacaxa, Mexico. I've been thinking a lot about the stone walls I saw there. I am about to dig into: The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art by David Lewis-Williams which was recommended to me by Fawn Krieger.
Where can we find more of your work?
eleanna.com | @eleannapaints BOMB magazine interview with Fawn Krieger: Rock Paper Scissors, March 2022 Maake Magazine feature with Emily Burns, March 2022 Material Art Fair in Mexico City, solo booth with High Noon Gallery in February 2023 The Amelie A.Wallace Gallery, SUNY College, Old Westbury in Long Island, alongside Alexis Granwell curated by Tally De Orellana, in September 2023