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Anya Kotler’s Sculpted Paintings Flicker Between Dimensions cover

Anya Kotler’s Sculpted Paintings Flicker Between Dimensions

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post ran in 2022. We’re publishing this update in honor of our April 2024 exhibition, In My Backyard, which includes work from Anya Kotler.

“The satisfaction of giving form to the abstraction of thought and following instinctual insights […] with a sense of trust in their guidance never lets me down,” writes New Jersey-based multidisciplinary artist Anya Kotler in her artist statement. With trust and intuition guiding the way, Anya creates mind-boggling mixed-media work that oscillates between dimensions.

Anya was born in Ukraine, grew up in Israel, and now lives in New Jersey, where she builds her sculptural paintings in a studio in Hoboken. “My work explores the blurring between pictorial and physical space, corporeal forms and painted surfaces, clarity and doubt,” she says. Though bodies—human and nonhuman—are central to her work, she relies on material manipulation to design an ambiguous world where recognizable details are lost among the chaos.

With painted and carved panels, bas-relief elements, and sculpture, Anya Kotler creates dimensional sculpted paintings that engulf the viewer in chaos.
‘Home’; photo: Tun Myaing
‘Home’ (detail); photo: Tun Myaing
‘Home’ (detail); photo: Tun Myaing

Anya paints and arranges panels, uses a bas-relief technique, and introduces sculpted elements—like the arm in “Home”—to build multidimensional spaces that pull you into an immersive experience. “Painting of any sort has the mystical quality of revealing to us a parallel reality—one that captivates us and feels discontinuous with our own space,” she says. “Sculpture on the other hand, tends to exist right here, sharing our own floor and air. I am fascinated when these ‘mystical’ and ‘real’ spaces mingle—when objects seem to flicker between worlds.” Like a choose-your-own-adventure book packed with twists and turns, Anya’s work toggles between these realities at the drop of a hat.

As Anya synthesizes intangible thoughts, memories, and emotions into touchable, eye-popping works, she pushes herself and the viewer to a place of “unsettling strangeness.” Along the journey, she unveils the work’s hidden truth—and her own: “The work always turns out to be more honest than I intend [it] to be.”

Scroll through to see Anya’s work, then head to our April 2024 exhibition, In My Backyard, to see her submission, “Escape from the Garden.”

I am fascinated when these ‘mystical’ and ‘real’ spaces mingle, when objects seem to flicker between worlds.” — Anya Kotler

With painted and carved panels, bas-relief elements, and sculpture, Anya Kotler creates dimensional sculpted paintings that engulf the viewer in chaos.
‘Escape From the Garden’; photo: Tun Myaing
‘Escape From the Garden’ (detail); photo: Tun Myaing
‘Escape From the Garden’ (detail); photo: Tun Myaing
‘To Step Steady’; photo: Walter Thompson
‘To Step Steady’ (detail); photo: Walter Thompson
‘To Step Steady’ (detail); photo: Walter Thompson
With painted and carved panels, bas-relief elements, and sculpture, Anya Kotler creates dimensional sculpted paintings that engulf the viewer in chaos.
‘Opening of the Mouth and Burning of the Feet’; photo: Burzin Chavda
‘Opening of the Mouth and Burning of the Feet’ (detail); photo: Burzin Chavda
‘Opening of the Mouth and Burning of the Feet’ (detail); photo: Burzin Chavda
With painted and carved panels, bas-relief elements, and sculpture, Anya Kotler creates dimensional sculpted paintings that engulf the viewer in chaos.
‘The Poems’; photo: Walter Thompson
‘The Poems’ (detail); photo: Walter Thompson
‘The Poems’ (detail); photo: Walter Thompson
With painted and carved panels, bas-relief elements, and sculpture, Anya Kotler creates dimensional sculpted paintings that engulf the viewer in chaos.
‘Seems Like a Good Thing’; photo: Tun Myaing
‘Seems Like a Good Thing’ (detail); photo: Tun Myaing

Anya Kotler: Website | Instagram

All photos published with permission of the artist(s).

Want to be featured on NOT REAL ART? Email editor@notrealart.com with a short introduction and a link to your online portfolio or three images of your work.

Jenna Eberhardt

Jenna Eberhardt (she/her/hers) is NOT REAL ART’s associate editor. Jenna is a writer and working artist from Asheville, NC, who specializes in watercolor botanicals and dreamy moonscapes. A true night owl, Jenna enjoys a minimum of two cups of coffee per day and isn’t afraid of the dark when she’s up late painting. As a registered yoga instructor with a background in health and wellness, Jenna believes in the brain-boosting power of a regular mindfulness practice, regarding rest and relaxation as a necessary part of the creative process.

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