ASTRID PRESTON: Reflection of the Trees
Oil on Canvas
16 x 16 in
Astrid Preston is a Los Angeles based artist. Her mother and father were both architects who met at the University of Riga, Latvia. In 1944 with the Germans retreating and the Russians advancing on Latvia, her parents, separately, escaped to Sweden and reunited in Stockholm; she was born nine months later. Preston was a physically active child and liked to stay busy. Fortunately, there was loads of paper—old blueprints made for great drawing supplies. By the time she was a teen, Preston started taking classes in figure drawing, which she continued for many years. After graduating UCLA as an English major, Preston realized that art was the pursuit that she found most challenging and enjoyable. Working mainly with oil on canvas, her themes have focused on nature since about 1978. Ideas come out of “the working” shifting from realism toward abstraction and the play between the two. Her paintings also shift in scale, from very small works of landscape or birds, to very large paintings that take between six months and year to paint. Preston says that having a child, and later visiting Japan affected her work strongly. Her love for Renaissance painting has influenced her technique. When considering her inspiration, there are tangible things like a sunset, a tree, a forest, or a color. She also finds inspiration in seeing great art and is interested in what makes certain works surprising and of the moment. Louise Bourgeois still surprises her and elicits strong emotion. The paintings of Hilma af Klint and Agnes Pelton have been more recent pleasures. Preston loves the paintings of Joan Mitchel and appreciates Vija Celmins, as a brilliant Latvian artist, but there are many important women artists in her life, especially close friends like Lita Albuquerque and Karen Carson. Astrid Preston’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States and Asia. She has had articles and reviews of her work published in the Los Angeles Times, Art in America and ArtForum. Preston received an NEA Fellowship Grant in Painting in 1987 and an artist residency from Lux Art Institute in 2008. Her work is held in many public and private collections, including the Orange County Museum of Art, Long Beach Museum of Art, UCLA Hammer Museum, McNay Art Museum, Oakland Museum and Nevada Museum of Art.