Anya Shire-Plumb is a visual artist whose paintings explore, among other things, issues of female agency, public versus private space, and freedom from social expectations. Influenced by Italian Renaissance art history, her work sheds light on the subtle ways in which beauty masks pain and restrictions in everyday life.
Shire-Plumb has recently completed a BA in Studio Art and Psychology from Brandeis University. Her work has been included in several student exhibitions during her undergraduate career. Since graduating, Anya has exhibited in London, England, and Concord Massachusetts. She has been the recipient of grants and awards such as the Remis Grant, Fisher Explorer Grant, the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Arts Grant, and the Debora Josepha Cohen ’62 Memorial Award in Fine Arts in Painting.
Born and raised in London, England, she spent formative summers in Houston, Texas, studied in Tuscany, Italy, and is now based in Boston, Massachusetts.
In large-scale oil paintings, I wrestle with the weight of unrealistic social expectations for women today, through exploring the archetypal biblical story of The Annunciation and its symbol of the Madonna. Despite being the daughter of two rabbis, my work is deeply influenced by Christian iconography, embedded in Italian Renaissance art history. Within these paintings, I attempt to shift the narrative of the male gaze and focus on the subject of the bed as a signifier of the contemporary female experience, and space of conflict.
Space, is important in my paintings, as I aim to discuss the differences and unsuspecting similarities between both private and public space. Is there truly such a thing as private space if social standards and constructs permeate our bedroom walls? Is there any place where we can truly be our most authentic naked selves that have not yet been exiled from Eden? Perhaps I am attempting to find this dream space through my paintings.