Anna Weyant: From Instagram Grids To International Galleries
Born in Calgary in 1995, Anna Weyant is the youngest artist to be represented by Gagosian, the prestigious gallery that specializes in modern and contemporary art.
Anna Weyant’s rise to fame has been meteoric. After being discovered on Instagram three years ago and capturing the attention of fellow artists and dealers, her work hit the international stage, with auctions selling her work for values far exceeding the asking price.
To put it into perspective, one of her 2020 pieces, Falling Woman, which depicts fear on the face of someone tumbling down a flight of stairs in both a serious and comical way, sold at a Sotheby’s auction for US$1.6 million, compared to its estimate of between US$150,000 and US$200,000.
Since May 2022, Weyant has been globally globally represented by Gagosian. The artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, scheduled to open this fall, will celebrate a selection of Weyant’s paintings and drawings. Her signature style is something Weyant herself describes as “low-stakes trauma,” placing often young female figures in situations that are ethereal yet speak to frictions in today’s social and popular culture.
A statement from the gallery talks of Weyant’s first work as “a sequence of darkly cinematic vignettes depicting a dollhouse and the strange, cloistered lives of its inhabitants.” Another series of images looks at the topic of American suburbia. While most of the artist’s work focuses on people, there are also still-life pieces of flowers, fruit and revolvers, always delivered with a surreal and unsettling undertone.
The gallery itself has worked with a number of living artists, as well as presenting the work of those celebrated in history, such as Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock. It was also the first gallery to establish a publishing house that printed artists’ books, exhibition catalogues and limited editions.
With locations in spanning New York, London, Los Angeles and Europe, the gallery has an expansive reach. Its spaces have been designed by world-renowned architects, and has served as the venues for extensive cultural programs and events. Some of its current exhibitions include a survey of works by Nam June Paik and a series of paintings by Pat Steir. Altogether, Gagosian’s representation of Weyant marks a pivotal milestone in the artist’s career.
Weyant’s artistic journey has seen her study painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. When she moved back to New York, she started leaning into her own practice. Between then and now, she’s taken part in a series of group exhibitions, including Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Artists Inspired by Music: Interscope Reimagined and Women of Now: Dialogues of Memory, Place & Identity at the Green Family Art Foundation in Dallas.
In terms of inspiration, she looks to 17th-century Dutch artists like Frans Hals, famous for his free brush strokes and portraiture, and Judith Leyster, who enjoyed putting together lively scenes. More modern painters, like Ellen Berkenblit and Jennifer Packer, have also made their mark on Weyant.
With the opening of Weyant’s exhibition fast approaching and with impressive sales figures behind her, no doubt the pressure of what’s next for Weyant will be mounting. In the meantime, only time will tell whether the public is as enamoured with Weyant’s work as the art world already is.