Anita Lewis revels in the challenge of incorporating classical with modern. Combining her European cultural heritage and affinity for modern design with natural influences, her work is an intriguing fusion of design and fine art.
Through her many years as a professional interior designer, Lewis gained a sense of space and scale for artwork and its importance in the aesthetic success of an architectural space. She suggests, “My art should serve as a never-ending inspiration of moods, memories, emotions and experiences, well integrated into the interior space as a refuge for the soul.”
From her studio and gallery located in Artist Alley in the art district of Oceanside, Lewis reflects on the character of her abstract compositions: “I feel I can express a concept of nature without having to literally paint it. Detail becomes obscured; perfection takes place in the imperfection. Structures become dissolved, yet there is a quality of structure to the overall work itself.”
Lewis rarely uses traditional brushes while working with the classical medium of oils in her abstract paintings, but instead prefers unconventional tools for dragging, rubbing and spreading paint. By incorporating bits of metal leaf, which seem to mystically change with varying light, she creates an additional sense of mystery in the textural nuances achieved by many layers of paint.
Born in Santa Monica, Lewis began painting at age 11 and was immediately singled out for her exceptional talent. With the confidence derived from raves over her innate gift, her formal art training continued and young Anita soon began accepting commissions.
As college approached, her father’s mid-western values influenced Lewis to pursue a “useful” degree in Interior Design. After earning a bachelor’s degree in art with a focus in interior architectural design at California State University, Northridge, Lewis departed for Germany, where since early childhood she had spent many summers with her maternal grandparents.
Intending to stay only one year, she immersed herself in European culture, traveling frequently to the great art museums of Europe. However, while abroad she embarked on a career in interior design, which resulted in living in Germany for 18 years.
When presented with an opportunity to launch a retail store of high-end European kitchen design and furnishings in La Jolla, Lewis relocated to San Diego in 1997. After several years of success as an interior designer, she began to turn her focus back to her original love of fine art.
Through time Lewis has experimented with various styles, resulting in an aesthetic style that is distinctly her own. One critic says of the Lewis’ paintings, “There is a freedom to her work, but an underlying structure prevents chaos, pulling the pieces together in harmonious compositions. Stark linearity seems to dissolve into abstraction, yet with detail in the obscure.”
Reflecting on the correlation between the characteristics of her paintings and her personal life, Lewis states, “I have a very disciplined and structured personality; yet in my later years, I take pride in dissolving some of those structures but keeping discipline focused on where I want to go in life.”
She has indeed gone places in her professional career. During the past decade the work of Anita Lewis has been published in notable art and design magazines, including FINE, Luxe, and Art Business News. Most recently she was a featured artist in the December 2014 issue of American Art Collector.
Lewis has exhibited her work in many art fairs throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Art Expo NY, Art Expo Las Vegas, Contemporary Art Exhibition Soho, Arte Classica Buenos Aires, and galleries too numerous to list.
In addition to several galleries across the country, as well as Galleria Nazionale in Cortona, Italy, Lewis’ work can currently be seen at L Street Fine Art in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter through March 26.
The public is invited to an opening reception Feb. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. Email [email protected] to RSVP.
For more information about the artist visit anitalewis.com