Past Presentations



February 29 – March 28, 2024

224 W 30th St, #604
New York

Comprising painting, photography, and ceramic, Prismatic Universe merges real and imagined elements to generate a multifaceted mythology. Central to the dual exhibition is the concept of a "queer multiverse" where modern queer identities coexist with classic visual and storytelling tropes. In this unreal yet recognizable landscape, light serves as the driving force, casting queer desire in the role of the divine.

The paired artists, painter Paul Anagnostopoulos and photographer Asafe Ghalib, blend reality and fantasy within their respective compositions. Besides often depicting figures in minimal clothing or nude, both artists use light and shade to enhance their subjects' allure: Ghalib in deliberately overexposed black-and-white photography, and Anagnostopoulos through careful layering of oil and acrylic on canvas and ceramic.

As in any myth, the epic storyline unfolds from opposing forces coming together. Anagnostopoulos draws inspiration from ancient art and vintage male erotica, while Ghalib's work rectifies historical erasure of the LGBTQIA+ community–particularly in their "Queer Immigrants" series—by reexamining childhood trauma. Growing up outside Rio with a pastor and gospel singer for a father, Ghalib was alienated by their religious household. Though free of overt religious symbolism, their portraits retain a sense of divinity and spectacle through body paint and fabrics.

While possessing a sinister quality, the portraits' underlying process is warm and collaborative. Sessions are minimally planned, often starting with a home-cooked meal between photographer and model. This intimacy fosters a two-way creative exchange: In summarizing their practice, Ghalib cites a social media video of Otamere Guobadia, a poet and model featured in the show. In the video, Guobadia describes queer love as “Evidence of more…Evidence that we might rewrite all equations.”

Like Ghalib, Anagnostopoulos poses both queer love and queer heartache as productive opportunities for aesthetic pleasure. Within the mood-lit landscapes, Anagnostopoulos’s figures alternate between expressions of anguish and ecstasy, while symbols like the ouroboros and the skull suggest a melancholy take on the life cycle. But in a queer-artistic context, this genealogical disruption forces a new beginning–a reproduction outside traditional frameworks.

This disruption is exemplified by two new paintings that merge physical ecstasy with the divine: one featuring a male rendition of Danaë, and the other a posterior closeup inspired by a drawing Anagnostopoulos made of his partner at the beach. This doubling irreverently echoes mythological reincarnation—particularly the expression of forbidden desire as an aesthetic fusion of light and color.

Raised on Long Island near both Greek and Italian grandparents, Anagnostopoulos notes how his contemporary take on classic figures and symbols continues the repetition he saw across Greek and Judeo-Christian myth growing up. For instance, in the myth of Danaë, Zeus makes love to the titular mortal by turning himself into a shower of liquid gold. Danaë's pregnancy prefigures Mary's immaculate conception, portrayed throughout art history as a halo of light.

Modeled after a Honcho magazine pinup, Anagnostopoulos's gender-swapped Danaë has a proto-queer precedent in the story of Cupid and Psyche, from the 2nd-century novel The Golden Ass. In this story-within-a-story, certain elements of the Zeus and Danaë myth are reversed, with the male Cupid receiving a seminal spill from the mortal female, Psyche. This event leads to a spiritual rebirth and eventual reunion between Cupid (heart) and Psyche (soul).

Anagnostopoulos's paintings and Ghalib's photographs symbolize desire as disruption anew, using color and light to resonate with contemporary audiences. The fusion depicted doesn't necessarily result in offspring, but is no less reminiscent of myth—propelling the story forward with heart, soul, and golden ass aplenty. Thus, the bodies of work presented offer evidence of more. That is, evidence of a richer, more expansive understanding of desire and identity.

–Samuel Anderson



PAUL ANAGNOSTOPOULOS is an artist whose paintings explore mythological desire and melancholy through contemporary queer narratives. He graduated with his MFA in Studio Art from CUNY Hunter College in 2023 and earned his BFA in Studio Art and Art History from New York University in 2013. Anagnostopoulos presented solo exhibitions at Dinner Gallery (New York, NY), Leslie-Lohman Project Space (New York, NY), and GoggleWorks Center for the Arts (Reading, Pennsylvania). His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art Archives and Library, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, and Yale University. Anagnostopoulos participated in 10 acclaimed artist residencies in the states and abroad, most notably the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), the Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), and the Association of Icelandic Visual Artists (Reykjavík, Iceland). His work has been featured in Hyperallergic, New American Paintings, Artnet News, and VICE.

Asage Ghalib has been exploring their own identity and relationship to the environment they inhabit, using photography as a way of survival and telling stories that are being neglected. Coming from a religious family and background, Asafe’s work embraces rebellion in order to reclaim their identity and history. They are best known for their imagery that challenges dominant ideas around masculinity, gender, sexuality, and the representation of LGBTQIA+ people in the United Kingdom.


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