Annya Sand effortlessly moves between pictorial genres, from figurative realism to conceptual installation, by way of lyrical abstraction. With remarkable technical mastery, she gives form to the mental fragments (recollections, sensations, dreams) which inhabit her memory and subconscious. In these dreamlike canvasses, the artist charts her own course between figuration and abstraction, choosing to suggest forms rather than define them. Whether viewed as symbolic representations or raw expressions of her emotions, these paintings offer an insight into the exceptionally sharp intuition at the root of Annya Sand’s artistic practice. With each one of her brush strokes recalling a kind of organic trace, her compositions are of a rich intensity, and pulse with her vital rhythm.
Annya Sand’s oil paintings result from the painstaking yet spontaneous way in which she works with her highly dense material. She employs a large palette of textures, from impasto to more delicate touches through to sweeping strokes and finer applications, blurring edges and altering her compositions’ depths. Though dominated by grey and blue tones on one hand and ochre, red and pink ones on the other, these compositions are endowed with a balance which they owe to minute colour variations which reduce contrast, and to white spots which add a certain lightness. Freed from the rigidity of their structures, these forms taken on a troubling vitality and promise endless metamorphoses. While abstract pieces bring to mind the organic (tears, roots, moss) or the mineral (rocks, fantastical volcanic fragments), portraits, landscapes and still lives glow to the point of evanescence, and seem to be stirred by vibrations.
Sand transposes onto her canvas the movements of her creative drive; its intensity, tension and even its violence, as well as its delicacy, its patience and its fragility are all visible here. These works are sometimes reminiscent of cave paintings, and thus reveal a desire to tap into a deep and perhaps primitive source of energy. She seeks to reproduce this experience on her canvas, to render visible the creation of a form, the passage of a trace from the artist’s mind to her medium.
While remaining true to this same intention, her recent works are nonetheless marked by an airier, more pared down composition which renders them considerably lighter. Finer, softer and brighter, they are dominated by their white backgrounds, which themselves are carefully worked in such a way as to add emphasis to the paintings’ figures. These acrylic paintings, with their semi-abstract natural motifs, bring to mind at once rhizomes and roots, slashes and punctures, the shadows of trees and flowers. As the artist employs pronounced sweeping strokes or dilutes her paint, figures and forms become blurred, and her canvases her take on the allure of Japanese prints. Through these mental landscapes projected onto canvas, Annya Sand continues further her exploration of haziness and emptiness, to ultimately locate the elusive and perhaps unattainable reality of her inner life, and return to the bends and meanders of her imagination and her artistic sensitivity.
Florian Gaité, art critic, 2015
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