Press Release  January 22, 2019

New Outdoor Installation Activates Museum Grounds at McNay Art Museum

Courtesy McNay Art Museum

San Antonio, TX – Commissioned by the McNay Art Museum from New Orleans-native Anastasia Pelias, mama is comprised of a monumental sculpture immersed within a painted landscape, and is now on view at the Museum. Located on a small hill just inside the North New Braunfels gate, the installation activates the landscape of the museum grounds by creating a space the artist intends to be “a place for people to be, to think, and to meditate.”

Courtesy McNay Art Museum

Anastasia Pelias with mama

“We are thrilled to feature mama this winter on the grounds of the first modern art museum in Texas,” said Richard Aste, Director of the McNay. “It is a paragon of artistic excellence--which we have defined in San Antonio for almost 65 years--and a thoughtful, meditative addition to our growing outdoor museum experience.”

Pelias’s artworks span the areas of painting, drawing, video, sculpture, and installation, united through a cultural identity combining her native Louisiana birthplace and her ancestral roots in Greece. The sculpture’s shape is informed by the ancient iconic shapes associated with the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete. mama is at once a temporal artwork, an homage to Pelias’s family history, and a site for quiet contemplation.

"mama is a work that pays homage to the essence of the female, to all mamas,” said Pelias. “My color choice of velvety violet for the stained painting of the landscape was a response both to the sculpture and to the site.”

mama is courtesy of the artist and JONATHAN FERRARA GALLERY, New Orleans, Louisiana. This exhibition is organized by René Paul Barilleaux, Head of Curatorial Affairs, for the McNay Art Museum. Lead funding is most generously provided by the Elizabeth Huth Coates Exhibition Endowment and the Arthur and Jane Stieren Fund for Exhibitions.

“Anastasia’s unique ability to transform the natural landscape in the same way an artist transforms a blank canvas makes her the ideal choice to further activate the McNay’s campus,” said Barilleaux. “Her outdoor abstract composition anticipates the many modern and contemporary abstract paintings seen inside on the Museum’s walls. In addition, the artwork’s location facing the original McNay residence pays homage to the legacy of modernism on which the McNay is built.”

About the artist
Anastasia Pelias received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Newcomb College of Tulane University in 1981, and a Master of Fine Arts from The University of New Orleans in 1996. She has exhibited her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationwide, and is found in the New Orleans Museum of Art, Mobile Museum of Art, and Ogden Museum of Southern Art, as well as in private collections throughout the United States, Belgium, China, England, Greece, and Saudi Arabia.

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