“I love colour and the buzz of cities,” Anna Gammans exclaims. Anna, a third year History student is the first student to have a solo exhibition at the Norman Rea Gallery. To exhibit at the gallery is a privilege for any artist and the student cannot thank the gallery enough for this “amazing opportunity”. It is easy to see the artist’s passion for her work as she sits surrounded by her bright, eye-catching canvases talking about her love of cities, culture and Art.
Gammans’ art is special; it alludes to her free-spirited approach of travelling around the world, setting up a canvas and painting the world-class city before her. The cities she has reinvented in her work are New York, Paris and London, and she has many more cities on the agenda, including Venice. The exhibition aptly named ‘What Dogs Can’t See’, captures Anna’s love of travelling and colour. The meaning behind the title she says “is a play on the idea that dogs cannot see because they are colour-blind and my pieces are enveloped in colour”.
When asked about her influences, Anna doesn’t know where to start. Her mother, a watercolour artist, demonstrated to Anna from a young age art techniques, and motivated her in discovering her own style. Anna evidently has a visual eye, expressing her passion for bright colours seen in a “lipstick, poster and clothing”, which she then transfers to her canvas’. Colour to Anna is a necessity in her painting and she lets it do all the talking.
Being a student also plays a vital role in her Art, her love for history is evident in the buildings that set the scene in her work. “I love old buildings”, she mentions while musing about her London paintings, “Big Ben is a building Londoners pass everyday, I hope that my reinvention helps people see it in a new light”. The aim of the old buildings for Anna is to change our perspective on the iconic buildings that locals pass everyday. She mixes bright colours together and thickly lays on the paint to create an original and alternative way of viewing the building.
When one views Anna’s work, memories are provoked and we become “connected to the culture and places”. She chooses iconic recognizable places that ultimately we will enjoy looking at. “A lady came up to me, stating that she had just returned from Paris for her thirtieth Wedding Anniversary and had her photo taken outside the Arc De Triomphe, she was very happy when she saw it in my painting”. It is this kind of response that Anna receives when people see her work, making her a well-respected artist.
Since attending the University of York, Anna has grown in confidence with her art, demonstrated by her audacity in to walk around York, sketchbook-armed, approaching galleries to ask them to exhibit her work. Through this she gained confidence in herself and her art, encouraging any student artists out there to “not be intimidated to get their work out there”.
She hopes that through being the first solo student to exhibit at the Norman Rea Gallery that “the line between students will be broken down as she believes that students are just as talented as anyone else and should not be overlooked”, something that she has evidently proven.