by BRENDAN FOSTER
“EVERYONE loves sexy faces!” laughs artist Anya Brock.
The local painter, renowned for her sensuous, sexual, and innocent-faced paintings of girls, says art should be neither elitist nor exclusionary.
“I have no notions of elitism, I just want to make enough money and sexy-face girls sell,” she says with refreshing, bare-faced honesty.
“It’s just that inoffensive, attractive face on the wall. It’s different—some are a bit aloof, some are really powerful, and some are innocent.”
Brock says she has come in for some criticism for promoting the very idea of beauty.
“Some people have told me ‘I don’t like your girls’,” she says. “They don’t like that model face, or the vacuous pretty look. I’ve been accused of objectifying women, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
Brock is acutely aware her depictions of young women are not regarded as “high art” but given she has an international following and has won numerous commissions, that’s something for her critics to deal with.
“I haven’t been through a fine art education but I’m really thankful for that.
“People I know who did say it’s very intellectualised and it’s put into their head what they can or can’t create, because what will the art community think of them.
“I don’t actually go into that art community because I don’t think I appeal to people who collect art, I’m more of a design cross-over, street art look. I’m fine with that.”
The young artist’s knowledge of abstract expressionism is impressive and she rattles off names like Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and Clifford Still with ease, also mentioning Australian painters Brett Whiteley, Abby McCulloch, Karlee Rawkins and Kate Shaw as influences.
“I find it really interesting looking at other creators’ processes and how they got there,” she says.
“Because you can make up what you think they did to get to that point.
“It also breaks down a lot of hype and myths surrounding it all. You learn that a lot of the things that lead artists to their known work was an accident. It breaks down the process and you realise you can do that.”
Brock will show her latest collection, Baby Don’t Save Me, at Feast Your Eyes Gallery in Fremantle from January 25 to February 6. It’s her last show before she heads east to live.
Some work is inspired from her living in a Brooklyn basement last year.
The time spent in an alien environment “introduced a somewhat rougher aesthetic to my work”.
“I think that’s reflected a lot in the show—there is a lot of small streetscapes and there is more of an industrial feel.
“The place where I stayed had a lot of made furniture. A lot of plywood, pipes and these raw materials. Brooklyn has this makeshift vibe. I made a lot of the wooden frames, so they are not perfect and have got more of a rustic feel.”