Recently I had the great pleasure to pay a visit to the studio of a painter I very much admire.
Ana Wieder Blank combines religion, myth, and the act of protest to produce highly personal, expressive paintings, sculptures and performances.
In the resulting works, aforementioned mediums are blurred allowing each discipline to conjure a myriad of formal and conceptual concerns alluding to modernist leanings while lending a strong, unique voice in reaction to the very contemporary and ongoing injustices that women, LGBTQ, people of color and immigrants live and work under every day.
Ana is from Silver Springs, MD and studied at The American University and Pratt Institute.
She lives and works in New York City.
For more information on Ana Wieder Blank's work, including her striking and recent mural project, please visit her website.
The Artist's Statement
|Ana Wieder Blank in her studio in Long Island City, 2018|
My current project is a series of oil paintings, ceramic sculptures, performances, and works on paper interpreting mythology with a feminist analysis These components sometimes come together to create installation pieces. I change, distort, and extend narratives past their end to create contemporary political allegory. I paint these paintings as if they were taking place in contemporary times.
I take narratives from the bible, Greek, Mexican and Indian Mythologies, and fairy tales. These stories are loaded with political, gender and sexual allegories that are as potent today as they ever were. I am particularly interested in narratives that deal with ideas of outsider marginalization, queer sexuality, environmental concerns and issues of rape and consent. I couple womyn characters together and explore dynamics of hidden and overt love, jealousy and escape of patriarchy.
Rape plays a big part in the paintings and performances that combined and explored the similar stories of Dina and Persephone. These characters’s transformation from children to victims to activists is politically and personally resonant to me. Rape is also used as metaphor and allegory for environmental issues like Fracking and Nuclear Power Development that interest me.
I am very interested in the way that myths of different cultures echo each other in theme, and character. I take characters from multiple narratives and extend, compare, and intertwine their stories. Other stories that I have explored are Judith and her lover and the assassination of Holofernes, Miriam and Moses, Dianna and Actaeon and Eve, Lilith and Adam, each of these narratives resonate with me on a personal and political frequency.
I reference events from 9/11 to the Occupy movement, to fracking, and the recent protests against police brutality. As an activist, I have an inside understanding of these protest movements.
My work is visually influenced by artists ranging from the German expressionists to Joan Brown and Elizabeth Murray. Contemporary artists who have influenced me include Nicole Eisenman, Judith Linhares, Dana Schutz ,Maria Lassnig, Valerie Hegarty, Arlene Shechet, Allison Schulnik and. I also am very influenced by outsider art.
Whether my material is oil paint, clay or performance I explore the materials and content with a combination of dark humor, joy and tragedy. I am a pronounced maximalist; I love color, texture, gesture and a painterly aesthetic in my work. . Recently I have become interested in bringing different media together in installations that attempt to engage the viewer/audience in a complete work of art, each medium provoking a unique experience in the making and viewing that cannot be replicated in any other medium. Politics and playfulness dance together in my work. I take great joy in experimentation and playfulness within the work.
-Ana Wieder Blank