Anja Salonen

Region: Pacific Coast

The figures I paint are androgynous and intangible. They interrogate notions of gender, sexuality, the self, and the real. I am concerned with the ways bodies are appropriated, fractured, revised, distorted, censored, and objectified—particularly within digital platforms. My work references a wide variety of stylistic traditions in a nonhierarchical way, assimilating influences as disparate as Picasso, stock imagery, comic books, and Mexican mural painting. While creating an accessible visual language, the approach leaves the content obscured. Decontextualizing the vernacular of the digital landscape, I defamiliarize the familiar. I create surreal non-narrative frames using a traditionally readable visual language to evoke the dissonances, contradictions, humor and horror of the corporeal. Performed through the centuries-old medium of oil painting, my work explores the current state of identity and the body, confronting with a traditional practice the contemporary interactions of the body and the virtual, the body and itself, the body and other bodies.