By Al Gord
Anastessia Bettas is a Toronto based, Canadian visual artist. She is a graduate of McGill University, in Montreal Canada, with an Art History and Literature degree and the Toronto School of Art with a Fine Arts diploma in Painting and Drawing. She is represented by the Petroff Gallery and the Elaine Fleck Gallery in Canada.
Inspired by artists Joan Mitchell and Agnes Martin and encaustic masters, Jasper Johns and Brice Marden, Anastessia creates unique abstract works that engage an ongoing investigation into the topography of landscapes and loss of open space using grids as recurring motifs. The grid patterns in her paintings, recall forms found in architecture and repetitions found in aerial views. By using an aerial perspective, she removes herself from the ground level and observes imagery from an elevated view which becomes a form of escapism from urban life and in a sense – a mindfulness meditation. Her dreamlike imaginary landscapes evoke images of maps, satellite views and architectural structures.
She works intuitively, using an average of fifteen layers per panel, scraping back and repainting until the desired patterns are achieved. Her paintings are created with either acrylic based mixed media or encaustic paint. She has been using encaustic paint for many years because this ancient medium offers unique textural and luminous possibilities and allows Anastessia to carve into the works like a sculpture.
Her paintings can be found in private collections throughout North America and Europe. Her work was featured in the Elaine Fleck Contemporary Art magazine as an emerging artist to watch and was shown in the prestigious Latcham Gallery’s Annual Juried Exhibition. Anastessia’s “District” painting is part of the permanent collection in the Museum of Encaustic Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Her latest work, New Frontiers, is inspired by NASA’s solar system explorations. This series was created after examining surfaces on planets and moons and thinking about the possibility of space tourism and the exploration of other planets to search for potential life and space colonization.