AñA Wojak

AñA Wojak is a cross disciplinary artist who works in diverse media that include painting, sculpture, installation and performance. Born in Australia, she studied in Gdansk, Poland amid the turmoil of Solidarity and Martial Law, and attained a Master of Fine Arts in1983.

AñA has been a shortlisted in numerous prestigious prizes including the Archibald Prize (x4), Portia Geach Portrait Prize (x3), the Paddington Art Prize, the Waterhouse Prize and Sculpture by the Sea (x4), in which she was awarded an Honourable Mention in 2000. She has been a finalist in the Blake Prize for Religious Art five times & was the 2004 winner. Her work has been included in major touring and group shows such as ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way – Art in the Age of AIDS’ at the National Gallery, Canberra.

She has held residencies in China and Australia including at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, where she created site-specific works throughout the grounds, as well as a exhibition and two performances. Ans she has exhibited widely in Australia and overseas, both in solo and group exhibitions with work held in many public and private collections.

The Eastern European influence can be seen in her rich figurative painting and the earthy spirituality of her 3D and performance work. Site specificity is also a strong element of AñA’s work. By using found objects she gives them a new voice and their histories become part of a created mythology: the top of a water tank, found after bushfires have stripped the landscape, becomes a canvas; crumpled industrial waste steel can be polished and painted to reveal hidden light.

Executed in oils on burnished recycled sheet steel, her more recent non figurative work showcases a unique technique in which she is painting with light, even before the application of paint. Fine glazes of oils produce rich, deep colour alongside soft transparencies, and the resulting paintings have a chatoyant quality: shimmering and changing with every subtle shift of ambient light.

Although it may appear at first that there is quite a leap from the figurative work to the less literal there is a pronounced continuity. Strongly influenced by early renaissance painting techniques, AñA’s work is built up in many fine glazes; translucent layers of paint that are built up to create rich depth of colour. And painting in oils on metal is a reinterpretion of an ancient method practiced widely by the oldmasters of Europe (eg. Breugel, Memling, Durer) before the popularisation of canvas in the Renaissance.

AñA has been performing since 1995 in a highly ritualised and theatrical style, often with an endurance aspect. The complex qualities of blood can be a recurring theme. She was co-founder of senVoodoo performance ensemble (98-08) and her work has shown extensively in Australia and intenationally, including Interakcje8 Festival Poland, DIAF Beijing, ’undisclosed territories’ Java, IMAF Serbia and galleries and festivals throughout Europe, UK, Asia, and the Americas.

In 2012, she has collaborated with renowned dancers Tony Yap and Brendan O’Connor at Xplore Sydney and appeared at Xplore Berlin and Navinki Festival, Minsk. 2013 she showed the Love Letter Project in Bilpin NSW, in Java and at Melaka Art & Performance Festival in Malaysia.

Following six years research and travel from China through to Eastern Europe retracing her family’s migration, her most recent project, stepping stones - journey of migration in reverse, culminated in an exhibition in February 2014 at the Lismore Regional Gallery.

AñA's works on our Stock Room pages have been divided according to the decade in which they were created. This is to assist with accessing her work more easily from an extensive body of available artworks and to complement her survey exhibition - 3 Decades - currently on show The Channon Gallery (May-June, 2014).