Artist of The Week: Chrissy Angliker

Chrissy Angliker’s studio is absolutely covered in a kaleidoscope of paint splatters. Strewn all across the floor, in no particular pattern, is a physical reminder of all that’s been created inside those four walls, and thus, what used to be a blank slate is now a space dripping with inspiration via past projects. Angliker wouldn’t have it any other way.

“For me, the space itself is a continuation. I enter it, and it’s like a Planet Chrissy,” the artist says. “For me it’s really important that I’m not painting these loose and wild paintings without being loose and wild in the space. The floor is one of the things that informs my paintings the most, while paint goes everywhere, a sort of subconscious painting starts happening around me.”

As a painter, Angliker works on the edges of what she calls “the gap”: the space within which the viewer interprets her painting. Getting as close as possible, she covers her canvas in strokes of detail, layered with meaning and emotion; then, stepping all the way back, her vision goes from microscopic to bird’s eye view. And the gap in between? She leaves that up to the viewer to fill in.

“The cool thing that happens in doing that is this middle thing that ends up being the finished painting, it kind of develops on it’s own because I never actually physically touch it. It turns out being a gap,” she says. “Everybody sees the gap a little bit differently, because it’s a gap. You just need your emotions; you need the viewer to finish the piece.”

Everybody sees the gap a little bit differently. You just need your emotions; you need the viewer to finish the piece.

Most recently, Angliker put her gap theory into practice with a solo show late last year in Baden, Switzerland that closed early December. Every single painting sold. When she returned to her newly emptied Brooklyn studio, the blank slate served as a source of both inspiration and intimidation.

“It’s tough, when you come back to an empty studio, and it’s like, ‘Fuck! What am I going to do now?’  When I was filling up the studio for the show in Switzerland, it’s like, suddenly, one painting will inform the next. You build this body of work, and you want that work around. You don’t want to lend a painting to somebody because they all kind of communicate with each other and inform each other. Once that body of work is kind of done, it can sort of block what’s going to come next. That’s also usually when style shifts happen. I’ve been painting these paintings with completely different textures and a completely different speed, and I come to this and realize, ‘So this is what you want to do next?’”

Once or twice a year, Angliker cycles through a series of paintings and must reenage with the question of a blank slate. Her work shifts with the seasons, and currently, she’s in new territory with a completely new style at her fingertips, and, thus, inspired anew. Often a painting will take two months to complete; other times, Angliker can finish a piece in a single day.

“I’m having to pay a lot of attention to what [the new style] is showing me, as opposed to where I’m taking it,” she explains. “It’s sort of an in-and-out, where I’ll have certain impulsive things that happen, and certain planned reactions to react to that impulsive nature within the painting process itself, the consistent part of my work is my relationship with paint. The relationship between control and chaos. I’m kind of a control freak, but that’s what painting has challenged me with.”

Angliker speaks of her paint as one would a close creative partner or friend. The relationship depends on a willingness to be open, above all else.

“Paint and I are collaborators, we play 50-50 roles. If I make a mark, I let the paint move the way it wants to move, what it naturally would do. I try to influence it, instead of manipulating it kind of. I have to be constantly open, and see what happens.”

I have to be constantly open, and see what happens.

The artist’s commitment to being open and trusting her instinct has served her well for the past 17 years. She communicates with her work, and in turn, it reflects her spirit more precisely than words ever could. That, then, is the magic of Angliker’s work.

“You’re going down this road, of process, which again mirrors life itself where you process your relationship with the subject you’re dealing with. You’re in this process as long as it takes, and then there’s a moment where you walked right through it, and you know in that moment, you look at [the painting] and it looks back at you. I love this about my process—I usually get a knot in my chest, and just for a moment, a little teary, because I’m like, ‘There you are!’ It’s like a moment of recognition, and it’s just so beautiful, and then it’s done.”

Stay tuned to Milk for more artistic endeavoring. 

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