Ana Wieder-Blank is a New York based artist working in painting, ceramic sculpture, installation, and performance to create contemporary feminist political allegory by means of combining, extracting, undermining, and extending mythologies and fairy tales from around the world. She uses characters and narratives that echo each other thematically and recontextualizies these characters into new narratives. Her current project is an Installation entitled The Chronicles of Failure in which she uses stories from her own life, stories she has collected from other people, and current political events to explore feelings of failure, shame, and inadequacy. She is particularly interested in how current events, social media and her own identity as a lesbian, Jewish, differently abled artist influences and is influenced by these feelings. This installation includes painting, sculpture, animation, and performance.
Ana Wieder-Blank has had two solo shows at Honey Ramka Gallery in Bushwick, as well as multiple group shows in venues across the Lower East Side, Bushwick, and the Upper East Side. She is the recipient of multiple residencies and fellowships including a Nancy Graves Foundation Fellowship for her 2016 residency at the Millay Colony. She has been a resident at CalArts, Vermont Studio Center, Alfred University and more. She has received reviews and interviews at The Brooklyn Rail, W magazine, James Kalm Rough Cut, Tablet magazine and more. Ana Wieder-Blank was a 2016 Joan Mitchell Grant Finalist.
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 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, Vanessa Prager, and many others. I also am very influenced by outsider art, and intentionally incorporate a raw Art Brut influenced aesthetic into my work, though by no means do I consider myself to be an outsider artist.
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 a childlike inquisitive spirit within the work.