Drawings: Anna Weyant @ Winter Street Gallery, Martha's Vineyard
Half year after her major solo debut with Blum and Poe in LA, Anna Weyant is currently having a solo exhibition of works on paper at Winter Street Gallery in Edgartown, Massachusetts. Simply entitled Drawings, this intimate presentation comprising 11 works on paper is accompanied by a comprehensive monograph, featuring 50 works spanning the past three years.
As the first presentation dedicated to this aspect of Weyant’s practice, the exhibition reveals previously unseen, initial forms of her accomplished paintings. Done with pencil crayon on paper, these drawings immediately convey the peculiar mood of her oeuvre. "I'm into dark, dark humor. There's something amazing to me about tragicomic narratives," the Canadian-born artist told us in an interview we did with her for our magazine, and we can see the sparks of such tone surfacing at this stage of her process. Whether it's an iPhone appearing in the mirror above a girl riffing on Manet’s Olympia in Reposing V, 2018-21, a topless girl catching snowflakes with her mouth wide-open in Snowflake II, 2021, or fallen ice cream defying laws of physics in Untitled, 2021, the visuals are both appealing and relatable while permeated with some sense of wrongness and unease.
Skillfully utilizing the medium's dream-like veil and frequently using the negative space to exaggerate the light effect (The End II, 2021, Dinner III, 2019-21), the lustre of these renderings conceals the crooked elements of Weyant's quirky imagery. Rarely working with crosshatch technique (Untitled (Best Friends), 2018, The End II, 2021), and almost exclusively using the softness of the wax or oil-based medium, the artist's affinity towards muted, sepia-like palette is also coming to life at this elementary stage. "I don’t want to be distracted by color," she told Bill Powers in an interview for Autre magazine, and both the drawings comprising this exhibition and accompanying monograph are confirming such decisive stance. Rendered with a couple of shades of subdued orange or brown, sometimes with black on white, or even brown paper, the almost exclusively monochromatic suite of works reveals the essence of Weyant's consistently elegant aesthetic as well as mischievous ambiance of the scenes depicted.
The 11 works in the show are merely a snippet of Weyant's extensive drawing practice which is thoroughly presented through a 90 pages hardcover publication introducing 50 illustrations from the last three years. Released by Winter Street Books in edition of 500, the book includes a newly commissioned text by Emma Allen, and a conversation between Anna Weyant and Robin F. Williams. Marking the opening of the exhibition, the gallery and the artist also created ten special edition copies, each containing a unique drawing by the artist. —Sasha Bogojev
All images are courtesy Winter Street Gallery.