New Orleans native Anastasia Pelias presents a monumental sculpture immersed in a painted landscape, an installation commissioned by the McNay for the Museum campus. Pelias’s artworks span painting, drawing, video, sculpture, and installation, and are united through a cultural identity that combines her birthplace, Louisiana, and her ancestral roots in Greece. Installed by the artist, mama is at once a temporal artwork, an homage to Pelias’s family history, and a site for quiet contemplation.
A N A S T A S I A P E L I A S | | |
[New Orleans, LA ::: b.1959 New Orleans, LA]
Anastasia Pelias was born in New Orleans, LA to Greek parents. Her artistic practice is rooted in the dual cultural identity of both her native and ancestral roots in New Orleans, LA and Skopelos, Greece. Blending the vibrant, compassionate nature of a New Orleanian with her weighty Greek heritage, Pelias creates work that is rich with personal depth of emotion and the spirit of exploration. Through a nuanced interpretation of paint, color, marks and ritual objects, Pelias unapologetically explores the overarching subjects of life, death, love, sex and the female experience. An abstractionist in the truest form, Pelias’ work reflects a seriousness and dedication to the traditional principles of painting – both the concept and the actuality.
Pelias received her BFA from the Newcomb College of Tulane University in 1981 and her MFA from the University of New Orleans in 1996. She has exhibited her work in 16 solo and numerous group exhibitions at venues nationwide, including Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, Heriard-Cimino Gallery, the Pensacola Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, American University (Washington D.C.), Proteus Gowanus (Brooklyn, NY) and the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, and has been featured in publications including Pelican Bomb, Hyperallergic, New American Paintings, New Orleans Art Review and Louisianaesthetic. Her works appear in public collections at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Mobile Museum of Art, Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital (Commack, NY,) and in private collections throughout the United States and worldwide, in England, Belgium, Greece, Saudi Arabia and China.
In her studio practice, Pelias embraces a process that is both intuitive and deliberate. Her work moves from paintings on canvas and works on paper to site-specific installations, objects and video. Her intention is to invite the viewers to experience a suspended moment and also to engage in their own consciousness. The human-size scale of her interactions with diverse media allows the viewer to immerse oneself in the work as opposed to simply being an observer.
Greek rituals and icons, the rich Afro-Caribbean culture in New Orleans, the shifting landscape of both her immediate environment, Louisiana, and of her familial home, Greece, all equally inform her work.
Relationships have always been at the center of what motivates Pelias to make art. These often include formal relationships dealing with color, marks and space as well as the different kinds of tension that exist between objects and forms. Her work draws upon relationships between people, their narratives and their environments while also exploring the complexities and absurdities of these connections – between man and woman, between mother and daughter and between friends. Deep ancestral connections are ever-present in Pelias’ works, weaving their way through and in between her exploration of these relationships – resonating even if they’re not always understood.
Pelias wants to reveal the poetic moments that exist within and between these relationships. She hopes to create work that is full of emotion and visual pleasure.
C U R R I C U L U M V I T A E | | |
[download full CV below]
1996 MFA, Painting, University of New Orleans
1981 BFA, Painting, Newcomb College of Tulane University
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
The Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL
Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, New York, NY
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
Ambassador Alexandra Papadopoulou, Athens, Greece
Iberia Bank Collection, Lafayette, Metairie and Shreveport, LA
Synovate Marketing, London, England, UK
The Catahoula Hotel, New Orleans, LA
Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, Commack, NY
Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, Commack, NY
IMTT Sculpture Park, St. Rose, LA
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2019 Destiny is Destiny (sing my song), Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA
Mastropetro Project (Magdalene), supported by the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts, Greece
2018-9 mama, a site-specific installation, McNay Art Museum, commissioned by the museum, San Antonio, TX
2017 Sisters, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2015 Ritual Devotion, Zoya Tommy Contemporary, Houston, TX
2011 Washed (to the sea and other waters), Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2009 Automatics, Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2004 Linked: New Paintings, Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans, LA
2001 700 ft. square, Heriard-Cimino Gallery, New Orleans, LA
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2019 Per(Sister): Incarcerated Women of Louisiana, Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University, curated by Monica Ramirez-Montagut and Laura Blereau, New Orleans, LA
2018 Vessels of Mercy, Vessels of Wrath, Barrister's Gallery, curated by Serge Loncar, New Orleans, LA
2018 The Whole Drum Will Sound, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
2018 Constructing the Break, Whitney White Linen Night, Contemporary Arts Center, curated by Allison M. Glenn, New Orleans, LA