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 including (at instead of including?) 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.
Pelias will be featured in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s upcoming exhibition, The Whole Drum Will Sound, which celebrates strong female voices in abstract art in the American South, on view March 22 to July 22, 2018.
In March/April 2019, Pelias will have her second solo exhibition at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery where she will show paintings and objects. Her site-specific installation, mama, commissioned by the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX will (is set to open) open in Spring 2019.
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 viewer 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.