Upstairs Gallery: Annie Bielski Agita

March 11 - April 29, 2023

Press Release

Upstairs Gallery: Annie Bielski
March 11 - April 29, 2023
Opening reception, Saturday, March 11 from 6 - 8pm
Annie Bielski makes works that are big washes of feeling, then she goes in and fills in the shapes. The volumes need to be filled—satiated. Going over and over them with crayon or oil stick in repetitive gestures. This is to say that her paintings are both records of the artist’s bodily limits (the paintings go as far as my arm) and examples of the limitless potential of materials left to their own devices (the oil stick is cakey and glossy lipstick falling off and crumbling and being smooth). The drawing ends when the stick is worn down and there is nothing but residue left on your hands.
The result of this dialogue is evident in the forms that she generates. Each form is an organ: it has a specific function, processes in its own way the work’s shared fluids and biles—but compacts to mass when crammed together in the cavity of the canvas. The material challenging the body to collapse into its most erratic gestures, the body wondering if the material might ultimately generate some kind of meaning. Everything is always taut, ready to burst. 

What happens next? Eating a hotdog from a cart in Central Park (beginning a painting) when suddenly the agita rises (heartburning) and the world immediately becomes askance, shifting off its axis to accommodate room for your pain. How do I make this okay?? / When will the painting be finished?? Needing to take off every thing that constricts you; unbuttoning your pants, loosening your bra, unwinding your braid, then going to lie down. A body would be sexy but it’s the byproduct of spasmodic internal combustion. Classic.
For her, the conditions that painting creates are tragicomic. This understanding is traced in wavering—moments of gravity or self-seriousness are transmuted into a bunch of bananas or a floral motif. But each little disaster is kept in check by a kind of logic, perhaps provisional, a pact with the inherent nature of all unruly things to meander. It is ultimately a win-win contract between generosity and flexibility, a willingness on her part to accept the mess of point A to point B.
The result is a series of works that are bright and unsettled, grotesque and pulsating, alive with the pure tension of compromise. Rachel Uffner Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings and drawings by artist Annie Bielski. The show is titled Agita, and if you know, you know.
Text by Grace Caiazza


The Creative Independent | Annie Bielski
April 19, 2023

Annie Bielski intervied by Robert Grand in The Creative Independent, "On the importance of honoring your ideas"

Annie Bielski Reading & Q&A
April 8, 2023

Annie Bielski reading from her writing corresponding to her exhibition Agita. Followed by a Q&A between her and our Senior Director, Rebekah Chozick.