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Blum & Poe is pleased to present Splinter, the gallery’s second solo exhibition with New York-based artist Anna Weyant.
This new body of work sees Weyant delving deeper into pop history—borrowing from the visual dialectic of Lifetime movies and ‘90s celebrity culture. Struck by the way that made-for-television movies seem to simultaneously vilify, sexualize, and stereotype women, the artist emulates these films by deploying the genre’s tendency to reveal the secrets of a hyperbolic version of American suburbia. This presentation of five works on paper and four paintings tells the story of a lavish party gone awry. In this darkly fantastical universe, golden ribbons tumble in from outside the bounds of each vignette to control or taunt the subject within, and delicate flower arrangements are wilted or maimed—all while Girl Crying at a Party (2021) looks on.
Monster (2021) and Drawing for Monster (2021) take their names from a line in Eminem’s 2002 hit song “Without Me” wherein the artist says, “I’ve created a monster, ‘cause nobody wants to see Marshall no more, They want Shady, I’m chopped liver.” The painting and its study depict bulbous, flesh-like balloons and stuffed sausage casings hanging from glinting ribbons. One wonders if these suspended bits of meat are a reference to the “chopped liver” from the song—thus a self-portrait or painterly indulgence—or if they are the “monster” itself, a public-facing and self-aware version of the artist’s work. While this question is left unanswered, what is made certain is that Splinter’s eerie party decorations evoke the bizarre violence of the Lifetime original movies it was inspired by.
Weyant’s flowers are flawed, beautiful objects; they are drooping and incomplete. In Lily (2021) and Drawing for Lily (2021), the white flowers, traditionally a symbol of purity and fertility, have their stamens cut off so as not to stain the petals. In Glory Days (2021) and Drawing for Glory Days (2021) four roses wilt in their vase while one is held up by the same golden ribbon that dangled the sausage links in Monster. These ribbons allow Weyant to manipulate her subjects—exposing the contradictions within her fictitious universe and the surreal suburbia on which it is based.
Inspired by a widely circulated image of American model Anna Nicole Smith, Girl Crying at a Party exemplifies what Splinter conveys to the viewer—Weyant’s particular method of pursuing the uncanny. To present the trope of a public figure crying—especially a woman who was assumed to uphold a very specific set of Western beauty standards—is to put forth a contradiction that reveals the weight of expectation and the repercussions that result when reality breaks with (or splinters off from) what has been planned. Weyant recognizes and explores the public’s fixation with the uncanny nature of actuality in opposition to expectation, playing with this juxtaposition throughout the exhibition.
Anna Weyant (b. 1995, Calgary, Canada) lives and works in New York, NY. She received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. Weyant’s work was the subject of the solo exhibitions Loose Screw at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA (2021), Anna Weyant: Drawings at Winter Street Gallery, Edgartown, MA (2021), and Welcome to the Dollhouse at 56 Henry, New York, NY (2019).