Painter Ana Wien Balances Art, Family

The internationally acclaimed Ana Wien must be one of the most prolific artists in the country today. Her art, like her person, expresses an intense, positive vision of life, and reflects her perception and creativity.

“Forms always exist; colors are forever,” she says as she talks about her need to express herself and communicate her feelings.

For the past 30 years, Wien has managed to combine her own imaginative world as an artist with the real world of family life, personal happiness and heartache.

“God blessed me with a talent, and I love to share my art,” says the mother of three, proud grandmother and resident of Santa Ana, southwest of San José.

She speaks enthusiastically about her work on display and the multitude of canvases piled high in her studio, where she paints every day. Obviously proud of her work and achievements, she stresses that without her husband Max Lang’s full support, she could never have become the successful artist she is today.

Wien’s acrylics on canvas overflow with vibrant colors, depth, rich textures, a passion for life and an indomitable spirit. She explores different themes of relationships among family, couples, women and friends, all of which are extremely important to her.

A half-real world intermingles with an imaginary world that is both introspective and evocative. Wien’s brushstrokes conjure up a mythical world of fantasy, with a hint of emotions that are subtly depicted and poetized with reality and color. Flowers, fruits and nature are combined with human figures and their relationship with the environment.

The feminine element in analogy with the earth appears constantly as a symbol of fertility.

This multifaceted artist’s innovative work over the years has undergone many changes and experimentations, both in style and use of materials. She studied at the studios of Costa Rican artists Manuel de la Cruz González and Francisco Amighetti, and in the early days concentrated on pen and ink techniques and watercolors, followed by oils.

“It wasn’t until 14 years ago that I started using acrylics,” the artist recalls. “What a disaster that was! At first, I thought I’d never master it.”

Today, Wien paints only with acrylics, though her work features a distinct variety in style and subject. The surrealistic canvases of her recent, more realistic flower and sequence series are in total contrast to her coffee bean series, a wonderful combination of realism sometimes verging on the primitive, depicting human figures picking coffee, houses, the processing of the beans, roads and even means of transportation.

Wien designs her own frames, and has started painting on tiles, one of which is now on exhibit at the Ceramic Museum in the Dominican Republic.

“The time and effort I put into that tile was incredible; it had to be exact in measurement, otherwise they would not accept it,” she says. “However, it was well worth the challenge.”

Wien’s incessant need for investigation also inspired her to move into the tactile and dimensional world of sculpture, and the few bronze pieces she has done are inspired by her paintings.

A hiatus of almost 17 years interrupted her career as an artist, when she put her brushes aside to raise a family and nurse her ailing father.

“After his death, I couldn’t paint,” she says. “During that period, I filled the gap by making jewelry and dressing dolls, but never exhibited any work. Then suddenly I was revitalized with a strong need to paint again.”

Despite the break,Wien has more than 50 group and individual exhibits to her credit, including ones in Costa Rica, the United States and Europe. Between 1997 and 1999, she received both honorable mention and first place in the Grano de Oro awards sponsored by Sintercafé.

Over the past five years, she has had eight individual exhibits and partaken in 25 group ones. She was the winner of The Color of Costa Rica contest in both 2003 and 2004, and in 2005 she received an honorary mention at the Women in the Arts exhibition that took place at the Museum of the Americas in Miami. That same year, she also was awarded second prize at the New York International Art Festival.Her work can be found in private collections in Europe, the United States and Panama, as well as Costa Rica.

Wien’s next exhibit is scheduled to run September through November at Bacchus restaurant in Santa Ana. For a look at her work, visit her excellent Web page at  www.anawien.com. For info, contact the artist at info@anawien.com or 282-2805.