Manifest Artist Residency
Brianna Angelakis (b.1990) was born in Massachusetts, relocating to New Hampshire during her early teen and to Florida in her late teens. In 2013, she graduated summa cum laude from Flagler College, located in St. Augustine, Florida, with a B.F.A. in Fine Arts, a B.A. in English, and a minor in Illustration. In the Fall of 2014, she began her M.F.A. in Studio Art (with a concentration in Painting and Drawing) with a graduate teaching assistantship at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She graduated with her M.F.A. in Studio Art in April, 2017 and two of Brianna's recent works were juried into the 11th Annual Master Pieces exhibition at Manifest (opening concurrently with her arrival as Artist in Residence). Her work will also be featured in the upcoming 12th volume of Manifest's International Drawing Annual (INDA).
Angelakis' debut solo exhibition, Fairy Tales: The Test of Time, opened on May 10th, 2014 at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco, California. Angelakis' artworks have exhibited internationally including in cities such as New York, NY; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; and Frankfurt, Germany. She has exhibited in various galleries and museums located throughout north and central Florida including the Harn Museum of Art, the Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens, and the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum. Her work has been pubished in, among others, Manifest's INPA 4, Infected By Art Vol. 3, Blick's Studio Catalogue, PoetsArtists Magazine, MISC Magazine, San Francisco Weekly, Semi-Permanent, Creative Quarterly, Catapult Art Magazine
I struggled with my art practice the first two years of my graduate career. Consistently producing unsatisfactory results with a few rare elements of success, I became disillusioned, seriously questioning myself and my art practice. Over time, I became more fragile and less confident in my work. Not only did the work fail both conceptually and aesthetically, the work also remained unauthentic. With the voices of various peers and faculty members in my head, I found myself making work to please them. Through the attempt to satisfy conflicted voices and opinions, I lost my sense of self. Without conception from a genuine place, the work remained dishonest.
Ultimately I returned to the observational basics of drawing and painting. I realized I enjoyed the challenge of seeing without the overwhelming shadow of conceptual thought. Stripping my process to its bones, I made a number of new oil paintings strictly from observation, painting objects personal to me. While my observational still life work existed as small studies, my momentum returned with the discovery of new ways of seeing. I regained my confidence as an artist. With my professor, Robert Mueller's assignment to draw a crumpled piece of paper as a singular still life, the idea of my crippling failure started to realize as a conceptual foundation.
With my professor's crumpled paper assignment in mind, I ripped, cut, and tore my past forsaken drawings and paintings, creating detritus. Replicating my detritus through observational drawing, I used the initial form of a crumpled piece of paper as my guide. In addition to the introduction of my self-portrait, I combined observational still life drawing with a system of collage, relying on the crumpled paper for placement purposes and overall form. I learned, "It is only with the collapse of our constructions of reality that we first discover that the world is not the way we imagine." (Feuvre 84). Through the purposeful dismantling of my insufficient work, my reality, I discovered new options, seizing the opportunity to design an unreality. I created a place of stability through the elements and principles of design and instability with my own orchestration of possibility and free play. My fantastical unreality provided me with a place to reflect on failure with a mindset previously unavailable to me. Because pieces of reality will always seep into an unreal place contrived by the mind, my new world would never exist as a true escape; however, my unreality gave me an infinite space to meditate on the real, fabricating beauty from my once useless work.
Living within a nonsensical dream place, my less than mediocre works no longer functioned as burdens; instead, the pieces of my work existed as elements of an assemblage within spacelessness and timelessness. Repurposing my detritus in my drawings, I formulated meaning through the transformation of art, creating my own vocabulary of images; however, the overall value of the work doesn't reside in the props employed to construct that meaning but in the authenticity of that manifestation.
Through the act of looking inward, I became capable of making art relatable to others outside of myself. As a MAR award recipient, I would be able to continue the aesthetic formula I created during my time as a graduate student, creating mass assemblages in organic shapes. I want to continue repurposing the white spacelessness of the paper or canvas to convey the infinite potentiality of the imaginative mind. From a technical standpoint, I focused strictly on value for my thesis work. As a Manifest Artist in Residence, I will begin returning to color with minimal palettes through both painting and drawing. I want the unreality I create to expand beyond myself, including other elements of the real world from new figures to animals and natural life. Within a fantastical dream world of spacelessness and timelessness, the possibilities are infinite.
The images pictured at right are a sampling of those submitted with Brianna's application.
See more and learn about Brianna's work here:
Information on how to apply for future MAR awards can be found here.