Originally from the Washington D.C. area, Anastasia has a B.F.A. in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where she studied mostly painting (though it didn’t really take) and fell in love with the Dada and Surrealist art movements, especially the work of Remedios Varo and Joseph Cornell. Anastasia’s lifelong devotion to her other great love—books—eventually led to an apprenticeship in book repair and restoration. Drawing inspiration from the history of science & astronomy, mysticism, art history, Victorian ephemera, and industrial decay (i.e. just about anything old and rusty), she continues to make art due to a persistent, lingering compulsion, spending a disproportionate amount of her time creating collages and assemblages from a wide variety of found objects and imagery—gathered from flea markets, yard sales, books, antique shops, trash dumps, or sometimes literally found on the ground during her daily walks—and worries about sounding pretentious when writing this sort of artist’s statement. Nevertheless, she has this to say about her work:
My primary creative impulse involves seeking the fantastic within the mundane. By juxtaposing ordinary, everyday objects and images with things such as telescopic photographs of deep space or images that hint at esoteric or occult subjects, I hope to find the place where two different perceptions of reality intersect: the familiar, everyday-ness of normal waking life, and the sense of awe and wonder we experience in the face of things that defy the human capacity for understanding—in other words, the mysteries of the universe and of our own existence. Often our quest to understand the world around us unexpectedly reveals to us something previously unknown about ourselves; it is this surprising and sometimes humorous moment of insight that I hope to capture.
I prefer to work in collage and assemblage due in part to a fundamental laziness when it comes to drawing. However, there is also a satisfying element of archaeology in found-object creations, whether two- or three-dimensional. There is a wealth of interesting material out there waiting to be discovered, much of it languishing in obscurity in old magazines, basements and flea market bins, overlooked by collectors of so-called antiques. I enjoy digging around and allowing myself to be surprised and inspired by whatever I happen to find. An artifact of any kind, no matter how utilitarian its intended purpose, by virtue of its continued existence throughout several generations of human life, becomes a small repository of history, and allows us a little peek into the past. It need not be a Greek vase in a museum; less ancient and exalted artifacts can do the same thing. In an old portrait photograph, for example, or a 19th century advertisement for Dr. Miles’s Nerve Pills, or brass clockwork carefully assembled by hand, we may glimpse a world still recognizable but profoundly changed. By taking such ordinary objects and images and altering their contexts, I hope also to alter the viewer’s perception of them, to see them as something extraordinary which, at best, might provide an opportunity to consider our place within the larger context, our own brief moment in the passage of time.
Besides her passion for fiddling with bits of rusty junk, Anastasia routinely self-actualizes as a conservation bookbinder (freelance), writer (unpublished), certified yoga instructor (sincere), mother (frequently bewildered), and former city girl happily ensconced in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Anastasia’s work may be seen at www.anastasiaosolin.com as well as on walls of the Adirondack Artists Guild gallery in Saranac Lake, NY, and occasionally in the pages of Adirondack Life magazine.