Splinter, a tiny, chipped-off part of something likely important and useful, often a tiring, even dangerous annoyance, feels like a perfect metaphor for the sentiments regularly encapsulated in Anna Weyant's work. After her successful solo debut one year ago with Blum & Poe in LA, and the introduction at Gagosian booth during Art Basel Miami 2021, the Canadian-born sensation is continuing her extraordinary artistic journey with a solo show at Blum & Poe's Tokyo space. Inspired by the Lifetime movies, ‘90s celebrity culture, and the way they vilified, sexualized, and stereotyped women, the images comprising this presentation revolve around the clash of cold actuality Vs romanticized expectations. 

In her work, Weyant is regularly resorting to dark humour to convey the ambience of so-close-to-success failures that permeate everyday life. And for this particular exhibition, this idea is reconceptualized around parties, festivities, and celebrations. Commonly perceived as the happiest of times, the moments to let go and enjoy, the artist we've featured in our Summer 2020 issue reveals a slightly darkened angle of such events. With balloons and ribbons dominating the visuals, she adds a subtle, hard to notice, but even harder to ignore sense of fiasco and mischief. Whether adding suggestive reflections on the porcelain-slick surfaces of the inflatable decoration (Monster, 2021) or portraying her figures with nervous, bothered grimace (Girl Crying at a Party, 2021), the fun seems to be over before it properly started. Placing ribbon-decorated guns at the scarcely laid-out table (Lily, 2021), or desperately reviving once gorgeous roses in a pot (Glory Days, 2021), Weyant is a master of polished melancholy, a pleasant smile through the grinding teeth, an unstoppable meltdown when all eyes are on you.

"Something is just not right," she mentioned in our interview while describing the atmosphere of her work, and this undertone is certainly becoming a deafening constant of her practice. Over the last couple of years Weyant had profiled herself as a great painter of sepia tone-infused portraits and still lifes, as well as an accomplished drawer capable of employing almost exaggerated chiaroscuro effects to construct the desired tone and light setup for her scenes. And these two techniques are presented in a gallery face-off of sorts with 5 drawings displayed in a cluster against the 4 oils on canvas. Serving as kind of trailers, samplers, or introductory images for the "real thing", the intense darkness of the graphite and charcoal accentuates the weight of the muted situations depicted. This feeling of daunting weight is arguably culminating in Girl Crying at a Party, 2021, with the dolled up protagonist tearing nervously under the dangling serpentines. Tilting her head against the hand as if nursing a throbbing headache, the absence of light in the surroundings pierced with the light, curly decorations is somehow pressuring her to the very bottom of the image. And again, the majority of apparent elements, such as the paper ribbons, the subject's exuberant, silky dress, or the seemingly elegant hand gesture, are evoking a sense of refinement and restraint. Yet, her facial expression and the way her body is resisting the outfit's constraints suggest that things are still far from being right. —Sasha Bogojev

© Anna Weyant, All photos courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los York/Tokyo /

Single work photos: Genevieve Hanson / Installation photos: Saiki