Adina Andrus Works with Cultural Signs and Symbols


Path III by Adina Andrus

Adina Andrus' work is centered around shared human experiences - from psychological commonalities to cultural signs and symbols throughout history that have served as means of communication.


Having lived over the past 20 years in places very different from a cultural point of view, Andrus found herself carrying a lot of these influences into her work, while also trying to find similarities between them. She believes that, as humans, we all share experiences, positive and negative, that define us beyond cultures and the passage of time. In her pieces, she references symbols and images that are meant to act as common threads that contribute to our human nature. Many of the imagery used is taken from prehistoric and ancient art, which are seen as representations of sublimated human beings capable of triggering a recognition of our commonalities.


"Discovering mixed media changed my art practice profoundly"

Path V by Adina Andrus

Her approach with mixed-media brings out distinct communication through her works, "Discovering mixed media changed my art practice profoundly. It felt like finally acquiring a large vocabulary in a foreign language and being able to communicate more freely and deeply. I enjoy the physical aspect of working with the different media, of experimenting with various combinations of materials and merging them into a multi-layered piece. Mixed media is very special in that it allows the viewer to approach the artwork gradually: there is the whole impression of the piece, with its message and composition and, then, there is the close up, where new meanings can be found in lines and ridges and textures.


Lately she began incorporating more found objects and industrial materials in her work as a way of documenting day-to-day life. "I use an archaeological approach to understanding and preserving experiences, by recreating and displaying common objects or shards of objects and the goal is to endow these with the same gravitas and symbolic importance that we give historical artifacts.


Baby on Board by Adina Andrus

Symbolism and religious rituals come into context with Andrus' practice,

"As a child growing up in Romania I was always fascinated with myths and folk stories. Later on, I came to appreciate the rich symbolic imagery and allegories in various mythologies and their influence on the modern human psyche. Whenever I start planning a piece, I try to think very carefully about the meaning behind the elements of my work - materials, color, shapes etc. I put a lot of work into researching these elements in books on anything from history of religions, alchemy to Jungian psychology and picking the ones that fit the message of the piece.


As an example, I have been using copper in a lot of recent work. Copper is one of the first metals used by humans and it has always been appreciated for its conductivity and malleability. In alchemy, the symbol for copper is the same as that for the planet Venus and it is associated with femininity and creativity. Therefore, by using this material, along with other elements of composition or color, I can convey a female perspective in approaching my subject. This latter aspect becomes obvious in series such as "Gatherings" and "GirlSpeak", where the "characters" are directly inspired by ancient goddess statuettes, used oftentimes in religious rituals, and the feminine aspect is at the core of the message itself."


Path I by Adina Andrus

Andrus recently completed a six months residency at Trestle Art Space in Brooklyn which left her with a lot of ideas to develop further. "I am looking forward to more experiments with industrial materials and to extending the scope of my "pseudo-archaeological" display installations. I am also in the process of finalizing the details of a couple of collaborative shows happening in the next couple of months in New York."

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