PARIS – Ana Wien, the Costa Rican painter of colorful abstracts, is well on her way to international renown. Besides regular exhibitions in the United States, Latin America and Europe, the artist has been winning many prestigious prizes at home and abroad.
In 2005, she earned an honorable mention at Miami’s Women in the Arts exhibit. That year also saw her taking home the second prize at New York’s International Art Festival.
The following year, Wien was invited to exhibit in Paris with Artists & Life, a group of artists founded in 2005 to help tsunami victims in Asia, which seeks to bring art and humanitarian actions together by promoting social awareness of less fortunate children, according to Wien. That show was held at the prestigious Grande Arche de la Défense building and later went on to the Galerie Figure in Paris’ moneyed Sixth District. Immensely popular with the public, Wien’s paintings sold out within days of opening night.
Early this month, Wien returned to Paris for her second group show with Artists & Life, on display through June 28 at Espace Art Et Liberté, a large, ultramodern space filled with luminous light in Charenton le Pont, on the outskirts of Paris.Wien is one of 26 international artists invited and the only artist representing Costa Rica.
Like Wien’s first Paris show in 2006, the exhibit started with a bang. Despite bad weather, the opening night saw a formidable turnout. Displayed near the entrance, Wien’s vibrant works commanded immediate attention. Her four large canvases, sensuously decorated with organic shapes in constant flux, left the crowd craving more Latin American warmth. With her seductively tropical palette, Wien is fast becoming the new darling of the Parisian art crowd.
The accomplished artist and busy family woman – wife, mother of three and proud grandmother – spoke to The Tico Times during the exhibit’s opening night. Excerpts:
TT: How does it feel to have a second exhibit in the City of Light?
AW: I am very happy to be back in Paris. This is not just the City of Light; it is also the City of Art. Art is everywhere here. You find great art not only in famous museums, but in small galleries, too.
There is an ordinary-looking gallery near my hotel that I pass by frequently. Yesterday I decided to go in, and guess what? It has three authentic Chagalls on display. I also saw works by younger and lesser-known artists at the Centre Pompidou the other day.
It was so interesting! I am honored to have my works shown in this beautiful city and to be part of this artistic brotherhood.
How did you get started with the group Artists & Life?
The French artist, David Kessel, president of Artists & Life, heard of me through word of mouth. I guess he checked out my works on the Internet and liked what he saw. He is responsible for organizing the shows and invited me to join in 2006. Then he asked me to return this year.
You have been painting for more than 30 years. Is there more state support for artists now than 30 years ago in your home country?
I don’t think things have changed. There is still little government support for artists in Costa Rica today. I am not sure if this is due to a lack of interest or a lack of money.
You studied under many famous Costa Rican artists, including Manuel de la Cruz González and Francisco Amighetti. What advice do you remember most from your teachers?
Don Manuel taught me the importance of color in art. I have not forgotten that lesson.
You are known to say that “forms exist, but colors are forever.” Why are colors forever?
Colors are always everywhere. You find them in the flowers, in your heart, in the world. People find them in their soul. Colors speak to our emotions, to our primordial instinct. Young children can relate to colors. Elderly people can understand them. This is why colors are forever.
If you hadn’t become an artist, what career might you have chosen?
I am passionate about the arts. But if I hadn’t become an artist, I would have liked to be a psychologist, to better understand the human heart.
You have worked with pen and ink, oils, acrylics, bronze and ceramics. You have made jewelry and sculptures.What is your source of inspiration?
I get my inspiration from women, all that women represent: life, love, nature, motherhood, family, emotions, intuitions. Some of my paintings may seem abstract, but in fact they are full of female silhouettes dancing to the music of life. I like to paint this female energy because it is a positive energy that transmits a message of hope and optimism.
Is it necessary to transmit a message with every painting?
Yes, it is. I would like my paintings to communicate with the viewer … there must be a connection. Even abstract paintings tell a story.