Investigating Anna Weyant's tragicomic art at her Gagosian debut

Anna Weyant's solo show Baby It Ain't Over Till It's Over at New York's Gagosian gallery has an intriguing eerie aura that is drawing a crowd.

by Vatsala SethiPublished on : Nov 30, 2022

The Wall Street Journal labelled 27-year-old visual artist Anna Weyant as ‘millennial Botticelli', owing to her recent Instagram popularity that can be attributed to her artistic style that blends historical aspects with popular culture, borrowing influences from the Dutch Golden Age. Her debut exhibition at the Gagosian art gallery -Baby, It Ain't Over Until It's Over - is an extension of her developing aesthetics and themes, resonating with her past work. The contemporary artist, known for frequently naming her contemporary art pieces after her musical tastes that range from old rock to Eminem—has drawn inspiration from a Lenny Kravitz song of the same name for her debut exhibition.

Installation view of Baby, It Ain't Over Till It's Overat Gagosian | Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over| STIRworld
Installation view of Baby, It Ain't Over Till It's Over at Gagosian Image: Rob McKeever; Courtesy of the Gagosian

Of the many works on display at Weyant's latest exhibit, implying subtle contrasting elements of the same identity, Two Eileens showcases the same individual in two slightly different settings. The art exhibition unfolds as a suspenseful story, with intriguing subjects especially since the works focus on the protagonists in mundane settings. One such artwork titled Sophie exhibits a woman standing and smiling in the dark which isn’t necessarily frightening by itself, but when the viewer immerses in the eerily dark background of the painting, the spotlighted figure's face bears an eccentric expression, lending the figure an evil impression.

Installation view: Baby, It Ain't Over Till It's Over, 2022 | Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over| STIRworld
Installation view of Baby, It Ain't Over Till It's Over, 2022 Image: Rob McKeever; Courtesy of the Gagosian

Weyant's perfectly rendered characters often appear to be involved in tragicomic scenarios; in all her artworks, she deploys cynical humour to convey a plethora of eccentricities. There is an awkwardness to her doll-like subjects' smooth-skinned bodies that hint at a manipulative influence of unseen hands, in the figurative paintings. But rather than reacting with violence to these binds they find themselves in, the artist intends for these doll-like subjects to choose distance, exhibiting agency in the form of quiet refusal.

It Must Have Been Love, 2022, Oil on canvas, Anna Weyant  | Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over | STIRworld
It Must Have Been Love, 2022, Oil on canvas Image: © Anna Weyant; Rob McKeever; Courtesy of the Gagosian

Further, the menacing tone with which the Canadian artist tints her paintings is even prevalent in her still-life drawings. Flowers in It Must Have Been Love and She Drives Me Crazy have a stark disturbing appearance and feel. Her signature sepia-tone paintings echo sorrowful hues found in modern artist Balthus' works. However, Weyant credits her preferred natural palette to her time in Hangzhou in China, at the China Academy of Art, after she graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017.

Installation view of the exhibition| Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over| STIRworld
Installation view of the exhibition Image: Rob McKeever; Courtesy of the Gagosian

Weyant‘s work is a seamless blend of art history, pop culture, and personal experiences and her paintings reveal a complex inner world of imagination on closer inspection; as the viewer navigates the highs and lows of pleasure and pain through her works. Her solo exhibition, too, is an extension of this eerie creative landscape of her imagination.

 Sophie, 2022, Oil on canvas, Anna Weyant| Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over | STIRworld
Sophie, 2022, Oil on canvas Image: Rob McKeever; Courtesy of the Gagosian

The visual art exhibition Baby, It Ain't Over Until It's Over by Anna Weyant is on display from November 3-December 23, 2022, at the Gagosian gallery in New York City.

  •  Installation view of the exhibit: Drawings by artist | Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over| STIRworld
    Installation view of the exhibit: Drawings by artist Image: Rob McKeever; Courtesy of the Gagosian
  •  Installation view of the exhibit: Large scale oil paintings by Anna Weyant| Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over| STIRworld
    Installation view of the exhibit: Large scale oil paintings by Anna Weyant Image: Rob McKeever; Courtesy of the Gagosian

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