We first saw Anya Roberts-Toney’s work on the Stephanie Cheftas Projects Instagram (@stephaniechefasprojects). Being suckers for brushwork, dreamy color choices, and nuances of mystery and femininity, we had to learn more about her and her work. It became obvious she was a great choice to be featured on the blog! We hope you enjoy learning more about her and her work as much as we did!
Anya Roberts-Toney received her BA from Brown University in Providence, RI and her MFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR. Her work has been exhibited locally and nationally at locations including Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Dust to Dust Projects, Killjoy Collective, The Portland ‘Pataphysical Society, the Office at Russo Lee Gallery, Somos Gallery, and Stephanie Chefas Projects, and she is a recent recipient of the Stumptown Artist Fellowship. Originally from Seattle, WA, she currently lives and works in Portland, OR.
Explaining more about her work, she states:
In my current practice I combine imagery related to femininity with disruptive elements in order to consider feminine power: what it looks like, how we learn it, and the depth of its capacity. I’m interested in the slippery nature of femininity—how it is inexorably tied to the beauty ideals and cultural expectations prescribed by images in women’s magazines and other media aimed at women. These images so often present femininity as a coupling of power and lack of power: the glamorous woman looks off balance; glossy lips share a face with fearful eyes; a romantic kiss includes a hint of sorrow. At the same time, I’m interested in a deeper idea of feminine power that encompasses a connection to the earth, nurturing, sensuality, and primal strength.
In painting, the female body has historically been presented spread out and prone, allowing easy consumption by an assumed-to-be-male viewer. Likewise, traditional still life painting has presented objects—and frequently flowers (so often associated with femininity)—straight on and unobscured. In my own paintings, I’m interested in complicating this ease of consumption by introducing disruptive elements such as drips, blurs, crops, impasto, and heightened color. My intention is for these elements to create a sense of unease and of underlying power: that beneath the familiar signals of femininity lies something boiling.
You can view her work at and follow @anyajrt on Instagram.
Artwork images courtesy of Mario Gallucci (https://www.
mariogallucciphoto.com/ Instagram @mariogalluccistudio)