Jaime Angelopoulos received her MFA from York University (2010), BFA from NSCAD University (2005) and also studied at Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, TX. She was awarded the Hazelton Sculpture Prize and has participated in artist residencies at KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre (Finland) and the Banff Centre for the Arts. She recently presented two person exhibitions, The Ruin in The Refuge is the Hole (Finland) and Awkward Dimensions at LVL3 Gallery (Chicago). Select solo exhibitions include PARISIAN LAUNDRY (Montreal), YYZ Artist Outlet (Toronto) and Cambridge Galleries (Ontario). She was also included in trans/FORM at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Toronto). Upcoming projects include a solo exhibition at MKG 127 (Toronto), inclusion in Feelings: Soft Art, Rizolli Publications (New York) and Jaime's third solo exhibition at her representative gallery Parisian Laundry in Montreal. Jaime lives and works in Toronto.
In my art practice I translate immaterial experiences of sensation, emotions and behavior into physical form through the mediums of sculpture and drawing. My sculptures evoke human gesture through their verticality, scale, and gesture. Narrative based titles situate my works in the realm of subjective experience, inviting identification within the viewer. My process foremost begins as intuitive images in mind, followed by the writing of poems or anecdotes. The process of writing gives rise to personal experiences that underlie and motivate my actions in the studio. Drawing is a critical tool for mapping out ideas and emotions through an immediate and exploratory process. Although my practice is autobiographical at its core, my hope is that it functions as a parable or metaphor for contemporary experience.
Q&A with Jaime Angelopoulos
By Sidney Mullis
While your sculptures are largely abstract, they are evocative of the leans, tilts, sags, and dips associated with human gesture. How do you negotiate when building an abstract form that it has the right amount of humanness?
My sculpting process is a little funny because I use plaster over floppy armatures (an armature should be rigid like a skeleton). There is a lot of propping and sticks involved. This material struggle is what gives the sculptures a quirky human presence.
In your artist statement you mention the work is rooted in autobiography. How did you come to this strategy of beginning your pieces from a personal approach that yields a more universal reach?
With my work I am trying to initiate a conversation, with anyone. I don’t want it strictly designated for heavy art goers—that seems very isolating. It’s a beautiful thing when you reach someone by surprise.
How does abstraction allow you to inject personal narrative into your sculptural forms and drawings?
I think abstraction is the best way to talk about our contemporary experience. I work intuitively which is not unlike how the viewer will engage with it, so it’s really about tapping into individual and collective experiences.
Your making process begins with images that appear in your mind followed by poems and anecdotes. Do you ever exhibit your writings alongside the objects and drawings? Do your titles for your pieces stem from these writings?
The titles stem from the writings through a process of editing. I don’t think the writing is essential for understanding the work but I am certainly interested in sharing it one day!
How do you choose color for your objects and drawings? Is there a particular paint brand you use or conte you prefer?
Color is so powerful. I will visually paint projects in my head for weeks before coming to a resolution. It’s about identifying the right personality of each piece. And I love Montana spray paints—they're the best.
In 2007, you completed Post Baccalaureate Studies in Dallas, Texas prior to your MFA in 2010 in Toronto, Ontario. I imagine these spaces were quite dissimilar in regards to their differing social, political, and economical climates. Did this year in Dallas affect your work and approach to making?
There is tremendous wealth in Texas which is concerning, but the museums and private collections (like Rochofsky House) are incredible and were quite influential. The racial and economic divisions are strong and I really hadn’t quite experienced that growing up in Canada.
You currently live and work in Toronto. What are the advantages and disadvantages to your location as an artist?
Toronto is very multicultural and has a strong art community. As a sculptor space is a real concern and I am running out of it here, fast.
Can you describe your working routine? Do you have a daily studio practice?
Yes, I have a daily studio practice and there is a lot of administrative work too. I work full time on my art career, on average 50-70 hours a week.
What is the most important thing to you for maintaining a successful studio practice?
Being there every day and working hard. You gotta move! You need to push yourself time and time again.
Since graduating with your MFA in 2010, you have had a prolific career. How do you sustain a creative and full life as a maker? Any advice for the recently graduated?
Thank you. My partner Derrick Piens is also a sculptor, so it is a lifestyle for us. It is very meaningful but I would not recommend it to someone who isn’t 100% committed. Take chances creatively and don’t try to fit in too much. Focus on the work always and do whatever it takes to share it.
What have been some of your biggest influences?
People and adversity. How we adapt, fight and transform in response to the crazy things life throws at us. My sculptures talk about this because they appear flexible, buoyant or contorted, but always with a boldness that says, “I’m still here”.
Are there any upcoming projects or exhibitions you would like to share with us?
I am happy to be going to New York for the launch of Feelings: Soft Art, a book that I will be included in. I have upcoming solo exhibitions this November and March at MKG 127 in Toronto and Parisian Laundry in Montreal.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your work and talk with us!
To find out more about Jaime and her work, check out her website!