December 6, 2022

“It starts off with something just not right,” Anna Weyant told us years ago in our print edition, and later said, “I’m into dark, dark humor. There’s something amazing to me about tragicomic narratives.” But with Weyant, who opens what will be her massive breakthrough, Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over, at Gagosian in NYC this week, something is always just a little not right. In the best way possible, really. There is a sadness, a haunting, a sense of macabre but also beautiful and sublime. I think of the great films, or even the recent Haunting of Hill House narratives, when I think of these elegant paintings. They are each their own story, a loneliness and wink to something otherworldly. And Weyant keeps getting better at it. 

Mark Twain said something about humor being ‘tragedy plus time’,” Weyant said of her new show. “If there’s humor in my work, it probably goes hand in hand with some sort of weird misery.” I find it fascinating that she speaks of Twain, as her work seems akin to the ghostly and American storytellign of the late 19th century. Something is, indeed, haunted about the American landscape these days, but Weyant doesn’t force that into her work as opposed to seeping a darkness into the entire overview of a body of work. What used to be just these doll-like woman has now begun to encapsulate still-life flowers in vases, each in various stages of death but full of vigor. 

That is why Weyant continues to grow as a painter. There is life and a sense that something is about to come to an end, or a new dimension is just off the frame. It’s about cycles, and the possibility that life and death are closer than we imagine them to be. —Evan Pricco