Anna Mathai is a multidisciplinary artist based in San Francisco with a practice spanning from mixed media and painting to sculpture, decorative residential wall installations, and writing. She creates sculptural and textured works that use color, light, texture, and shadow to tell her story, and frequently works with plaster, textile, and metal. Her goal is to create things that hold some strange magic. It’s why she likes to experiment with and create new methods (like her “canvas kintsugi” and hardened silk origami). She makes works that interact with their viewers and the light around them, reflecting, shifting colors, and jumping off of the wall to mingle art and enjoyment, to transcend viewing into experiencing. She feels that the aesthetics (and a touch of whimsy) are paramount. However, on the “series level,” her work often references deeper themes from her life, such as rebellion, feminism, “otherness”, and the immigrant experience. Her work, however, is not overtly political. In her mind, her art generally reflects on boundaries, both real and imagined and blurs them.
Mathai was born in the UK to Indian parents but spent most of her childhood in the rural Deep South. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Rice University after graduating from the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and Arts, then went to medical school, and eventually law school, later practicing as an entertainment lawyer. Since pursuing her art professionally, her work has been featured in international art magazines and exhibited nationwide. In her other time, she writes lyrics and screenplays, enjoys nature with her Australian Shepherd, and Cowboy, and tests jokes on friends and family.
I create sculptural and textured works that use color, light, texture, and shadow to tell my story, and frequently work with plaster, textile, and metal. I want to create things that hold some sort of strange magic. It’s why I like to experiment with new methods and create works that interact with their viewers and the light around them, jumping out of the canvas to mingle art and enjoyment, to transcend viewing into experiencing. I feel that the aesthetic (and a touch of whimsy) is paramount, though on the “series level,” my works sometimes reference deeper themes from my life, including those of rebellion, feminism, and the immigrant experience. My work is not overtly political, and it would be unlike me to have one meaning for any single work—in fact, the exploration of dualities and the blurring of them is conceptually central to most of my art. Even in my poetic writing, I find beauty in the multiplicity and ambiguity of meaning. So, I prefer to avoid prescribing meaning to each work and let the viewer interact with it themselves, adding to the art with their own interpretation. It’s a sort of acceptance of all meanings: each one is true as it applies to you—I call it my “quantum art” philosophy. All that being said, in my mind, my work generally reflects on boundaries, both real and imagined, and blurs them.