Paper paint charcoal collage fabric
These collages were created first in the presence of a live model, working quickly, in charcoal and pastel, and again, later, alone in the studio, furiously tearing and pasting images from magazines, various language newspapers, print publications, and previous drawings.
As a natural progression of Ms.Anastasi's older work, this new iteration of charcoal and pastel portraits of women from life employ overlaid pieces of torn newspaper, magazines, and previous drawings to create complex and emotionally intense figures. Within some of these portraits there are ripped road maps, providing equal presence to the figures each with their own level of dimensionality. The maps serve to pose questions, such as, “Where am I?, Where does this road lead”? Offering answers, “I am central to the narrative. I constructed the environment around me”.
Audrey Anastasi is a feminist artist. Her practice is rooted in painting other women, the human face, and figure through direct observation. Through this technique, Anastasi examines perception and the construction of self-image.
Audrey was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She earned a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute, and taught figure drawing, portfolio development, and anatomy for artists at Parsons School of Design for approximately 10 years. Audrey has been featured in Smart Money Magazine, the Lenny Lopate Show (aka: New York and Company) on National Public Radio, the New York Times, New York Daily News, amNY, Pratt Folio, Jewish Week, the arts & entertainment supplements of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the Brooklyn Fine Arts magazine, OntheIssuesMagazine and the New York Observer. Audrey lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Giancarlo T. Roma writes:
As a medium, collages are defined by the idea of fragmentation -- disparate elements pasted together to form a new whole. In her latest series, Collage, Audrey Anastasi uses this idea to convey the complexity of our inner lives -- that we are not one thing, even to ourselves.
Compositionally, each piece contains two fundamental elements -- a woman, drawn in charcoal, usually in the center of the frame, and bits of media pasted in front of, behind, and around each subject. The women assume a variety of poses -- some are vulnerable, shoulders open, glaring at the viewer; others are guarded, arms crossed, contorting their body to the side; many are lost in thought, staring off into some unknown distance, seemingly unaware of our gaze.
No matter their disposition, though, the women of Collage all appear deep in introspection, and we see them as if we are walking in on them in private moments. They are not just in their own heads, but in the closets, attics, and hiding places of their minds, alternatively focused and wistful in their contemplation.
The other media -- bits of writing, scraps from magazines, fragments of other paintings -- give us clues as to what might be giving them pause, or at least the shape it is taking. Indeed, the most recurring image of the series is that of a map, usually serving as the background to the subjects -- taken together, the images that populate their surroundings function as a kind of map of their inner life.
In “Red Birch,” birch trees -- a previous series of Anastasi’s and another theme that repeats in this one -- create a thicket in front of a woman’s pensive face, as other bits of filigree flicker on the other side, creating a sort of visual static. Toned in sepia like an old, old photograph, the work has the feeling of revisiting an old memory that’s been obfuscated by the passing of time.
Eyelids droopy with reverie, the woman at the center of “Cowgirl” leans her head down towards a hillside pine forest traversed by two horses, as if she’s listening to the sounds of her own projection, perhaps of where she’d rather be. We get the sense we are glimpsing into her own imagination -- a mind-made diorama.
Bright stars and neon galaxies swirl around a woman in “Celestial Night” seeping into parts of her arm, head, and chest. But her body also displays a much more local map -- the New York City subway system, with its own colored lines traversing her body like veins. Space, quite literally, is collapsed in her being. She is here and everywhere at the same time. Aren’t we all.