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Meet Anna Mathai

Behind the Multi-Faceted Artist

2022 Artist Series Bio

Wente Vineyards is deeply committed to the arts and supporting our local community through the Wente Foundation for Arts Education. Every year, Wente Vineyards selects a different local artist to design a unique label for our limited Artist Series. This year, we’ve selected a multi-disciplinary artist, Anna Mathai.

Anna Mathai is a Los Angeles-based artist and writer who creates dynamic sculptural paintings that interact with the light, using plaster, gold, and other materials.  She is recognized for her abstract works that implement both the natural world and our internal ‘landscapes’ of emotion, blurring both tangible and intangible. Her sculptures often touch on concepts of femininity, rebellion, and otherness in her figurative work.  Mathai was born in the UK to Indian parents but spent most of her childhood in rural Louisiana.  She eventually moved to California, spending many years in the Bay Area, where she fell in love with nature. She has been awarded, featured in international art magazines, and exhibited nationwide.

Mathai uses Venetian plaster and limestone plaster to create pieces that imagine a strange magic. She likes experimenting with and creating new methods to form dimension and texture in her work (like her “canvas kintsugi” and hardened silk origami). Mathai makes works that interact with their viewers and the light around them, reflecting, shifting colors, and jumping out of the canvas to mingle art and enjoyment, transcending viewing into experiencing.

She taps into her other creative interests in her free time by writing poetry, lyrics, and screenplays.

What inspired you for this year’s Artist Series collection?

For the artist series paintings, I looked to the uniquely enchanting landscape of the Bay Area and Livermore for inspiration.  Northern California is about dramatic ocean swirling into storybook hills, summer sunlight after 9 pm, bold rock formations on tiptoes shouting out into the abyss: magic!  I wanted to capture that in my sculptural paintings not only in a physical sense but also with respect to the emotions that could be carried in a moment passed in its grandeur.

I’ve always thought it interesting how a vintage can be dramatically affected by the weather in a certain year, the amount of rain, and what was planted nearby.  Wine captures a unique moment in time; each sip is inextricably linked to a regional story.

So, I imagined a Bay Area vignette for each of the artist series labels. For example, an excerpt from an evening on a porch swing with a loved one, sipping a glass of wine, looking out over the hills, closing your eyes for a beat as a warm, gentle breeze hits your face… a deep inhale and a smile to your companion: we are lucky.

In order to transmit this quality of spirit, metallics, shimmery mica, and reflective wax were used in addition to natural plasters comprised of limestone and marble to create works that interact with the light and the viewer’s position. Each work features raised limestone formed in the shape of the rolling hills seen near Wente Vineyards.”

What was your favorite part about creating the label artwork?

Wine captures a unique moment in time; each sip is inextricably linked to a regional story.   So, I imagined a Bay Area vignette for each of the artist series labels. For example, an excerpt from an evening on a porch swing with a loved one, sipping a glass of wine, looking out over the hills, closing your eyes for a beat as a warm, gentle breeze hits your face… a deep inhale and a smile to your companion: we are lucky.

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