Anya Roberts-Toney: The Fairest
New Works by Anya Roberts-Toney
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 1, 6 - 8pm
November 1 - December 8, 2018
Curated by Sam Hopple
Portland ‘Pataphysical Society is pleased to present The Fairest, a collection of new work by Portland-based painter Anya Roberts-Toney, curated by Sam Hopple.
In The Fairest, Anya Roberts-Toney presents a suite of abstracted mixed-media paintings which speak to her own self-examination as a female painter and her sense of ownership and belonging within the history of the medium. In her practice, Roberts-Toney has frequently referenced the still life floralscapes of 19th Century French Painter Henri Fantin-Latour. Rather than re-painting these elements directly on the canvas, an assemblage of clippings of Fantin-Latour’s work and source material from contemporary fashion magazines are overlaid onto her dark, obscure compositions. Using thick pours of reflective medium, Roberts-Toney creates black lacquered surfaces, acting as a kind of obscured mirror, referencing her desire to be seen within the art historical context of painting. This gesture also allows the artist to claim a new ownership of the work by re-working its context, touching on greater themes of beauty, power and femininity.
In line with critic and theorist Dave Hickey’s concepts of beauty in The Invisible Dragon, Roberts-Toney’s paintings are meant to be viewed intimately, with the notion that if the viewer finds beauty within the work, it ignites pleasure within them to keep looking. Stemming from a long interest of cultural ideals and expectations of female beauty (learned through advertising in women's magazines), Roberts-Toney’s paintings combine figuration with abstraction and obfuscation, exploring the line between what you can see and understand and what you can't. In this contemporary moment, there is a strong desire to be seen. Visibility is power, and power isn’t necessarily experience, but presence.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Anya Roberts-Toney received her BA from Brown University in Providence, RI and her MFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. Her work has been exhibited locally and nationally at locations including Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Dust to Dust Projects, The Gallery at Cerulean, Killjoy Collective, Pond Gallery, The Portland ‘Pataphysical Society, the Office at Russo Lee Gallery, and Somos Gallery, and she is a recent recipient of the Stumptown Artist Fellowship. Originally from Seattle, WA, she currently lives and works in Portland, OR.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Sam Hopple is an independent curator and arts writer currently based in Portland, Oregon. Hopple received her B.A. in Art, Design and Media from Richmond University in London in 2012. She is interested in contemporary visual culture and investigating the relationship between space and object.