Andy Giannakakis: The Gypsy

October 13th - December 1st

Tif Sigfrids is pleased to announce "The Gypsy" a solo exhibition by Andy Giannakakis. The exhibition will open with a reception on Saturday, October 13th from 4-6 PM and remain on view through December 1st.

Some of Andy Giannakakis's paintings have been underway for so long that they remained unchanged in his studio for years before he brought them to their present state, sometimes in a matter of weeks. Two of the works in the current exhibition at Tif Sigfrids were begun five years ago, when the artist was living in Athens, Georgia. They have since traveled to Los Angeles, where he is currently based, before returning to Athens for this exhibition.

In For Josif Brodsky (2015-2018) -titled after the Russian born writer whose late prose and poems evoke memories of a distant homeland and other things lost to time (or just to him) - a white, mask-like figure floats atop a chrome-green shape surrounded by a compilation of aquatic blues. The colors are painted thinly, in certain places so thinly that the pigment appears dusted on. But underneath these shallow forms hides a different yellows and reds on a moss-green ground. It is discernible now only in the corners of the panel and in the relief of thick brushwork pressing through the surface. Applied with and against the relief of the underlying brushwork, the visible layer of the painting has the appearance of a thick impasto in some places, whereas in other places (certainly where it cracks) it is revealed to be a thin film. Here, the painting assumes the character of memories, which are often said to be both deep-rooted and fickle and involve contradictions of time.

But rather than the nature of memory per se, Giannakakis's paintings are about the memories of paintings - the artist's own as well as those of other artists. In Flemish Road (2016 - 2018), he recalls the build-up of lush greens and earth tones on top of cool, blue grounds used by 16th century Flemish landscape painters such as Joachim Patinir (1483-1524) to create the illusion of deep space. In Bloody Mary Morning (2018) Giannakakis invokes the 1890s interiors of Édouard Vuillard (1868 - 1940) in colors (umbers, oranges, reds, and whites accentuated with pink) that spill onto the surface as if no form could contain them, as well as in the fast and loose brushwork, which slips into moments of extraordinary precision almost as if by accident.

Giannakakis's paintings are like essays in the original sense of the term: they are technical trials in which optical devices taken from the history of oil painting (the artist is a formally trained painter) are reduced to their functional elements and applied again without the subtext of their original meaning; they are tools for thinking that anyone can use; and even if there is nothing spontaneous about them, they meander as the solution to one problem casts the outline of the next into relief. With the complexity of their construction, they appear to gain a life of their own, and they begin to play tricks on their maker. That is usually how he knows they are finished.

Andy Giannakakis (n. 1988 Valdosta, Georgia) lives and works in Los Angeles. He holds a BFA from the University of Georgia and an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. His work is currently in a group exhibition titled "The Earth Axis Tilt Shifts" at Park View Gallery in Brussels, Belgium.

-Niels Henriksen