Audrey Frank Anastasi cannot remember a time when she did not have a paintbrush or pencil in her hand. Most of her work focuses on the human face, figures, animals and nature. She prefers direct observation, and she works very rapidly.
In 1990, Ms. Anastasi abandoned the facility of working with her right hand, in order to begin painting afresh with her non-dominant left hand. Accepting the challenge of this new struggle enabled her to work intuitively, respect the spontaneity of the paint stroke, and to redirect her attention to the soul of the subject matter. Among her countless influences from the broad history of Western art are Fra Angelico, Masaccio, the Impressionists, Anselm Kieffer and Lucien Freud. Audrey admires the courage of Alice Neel and Helen Levitt for being true to their vision, and forging ahead, in an era when the work of women artists was often disregarded.
A curator, gallery owner/director, educator and arts advocate, Audrey Frank Anastasi is, above all else, a tireless and dedicated working artist. She has an extensive history of exhibiting her artwork in the United States and abroad.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, and raised in south Florida from the age of twelve, Ms. Anastasi attended the University of Miami, where she graduated Magna cum Laude. Audrey moved to Brooklyn, New York, to attend Pratt Institute, and earned her Master's Degree in Fine Arts. From 1985 until 1994, she taught figure drawing, portfolio development, and anatomy for artists at Parsons School of Design.
Audrey Anastasi has been featured in Smart Money Magazine, the Lenny Lopate Show (aka: New York & Company) on National Public Radio (NPR), the New York Times, New York Daily News, amNY, Pratt Folio, Jewish Week, the arts & entertainment supplements of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (InBrooklyn) and the Brooklyn Courier (24/7), Artworld Digest, Zeek (an online magazine of Jewish culture), Brooklyn Fine Arts (BFA) magazine and On the Issues Magazine.com, and the New York Observer.
Audrey Anastasi and her husband Joseph are Co-Founders and Directors of Tabla Rasa Art Gallery, 224 48 Street, the first art gallery in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. They were honored by the Brooklyn Arts Council in November 2008 for their pioneering work and for their dedication to supporting fellow artists. Audreyhas been a member of the Brooklyn Arts Council’s Board of Directors since 2001. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Dance Theatre Etcetera (DTEtc.org) and was President of the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC.org), the largest artist-run, visual arts nonprofit organization in Brooklyn from 1999 to 2004.
Resume provided upon request.
"Audrey Anastasi is a terrific drafts woman and colorist who paints riveting portraits as well as dazzling fantasies that often include human forms. She has painted an image of herself and her mother that is so powerful it can knock you over. Her range is wide in both subject mater and media, but throughout all her art are traces of her uncanny ability to draw and perceive uncommonly well. She has a mastery over the figure one seldom sees today and a life enhancing quality to her use of color. Her works move from almost, but not quite objective realism to the more abstract and fanciful. However, underlying all her imagery is a vivid imagination and a deep comprehension of any media in which she works.
Cindy Nemser, art historian and feminist art critic
Is habit stronger than logic? I think there's a case to say 'Yes.' People smoke, over-eat, exhibit all sorts of behaviors -- knowing in their logical (conscious) minds that the person they'd like to be, and the person they really are, don't jive. Artistically speaking, Audrey Anastasi takes this paradigm -- let's call it habitual behavior vs. free will -- and turns it on its side. Simply put, in 1990 she consciously decided to paint with her 'weak' (read: left) hand, all the better to access more deeply her own unconscious mind, and in the process, make her relationship with paint a never-ending source of discovery. Desire, unconscious forces, memory -- these are all be strong tools for an artist who can harness them; but they needn't be as psychologically freighted as you might think. Anastasi's process teaches us that 'habit' needn't be couched in terms of angst and self destruction, but rather can be used for self instruction -- redemption, even.
As Anastasi herself told me on a recent studio visit: "When I first started painting in this way, I felt as though I were reborn."
Sarah Schmerler, art critic
“Audrey Anastasi is a master of figurative oil painting. Her surfaces are juicy, the brush strokes fast and confident – she doesn't hesitate, she just paints.”
Anders Knutsson, painter and curator
"There is an immediacy and spontaneity in Audrey’s figure drawing, that always intrigues me. It is a very dark and sensual interpretation of the figure, classical, yet having a totally modern twist. Her works are cutting edge, almost punk rock, and never derivative.”
Buster Seccia, collector and curator
Art historian Priscilla Bain-Smith says of Audrey's paintings, "They are very powerful, very contemporary, painterly, and captivating."
Audrey Frank Anastasi