Anya Rosen ￼grew up in Los Angeles, CA and graduated with a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2013, while working as an artist assistant in remote New Mexico, Anya began developing a career in agriculture. Living without modern conveniences encouraged her to investigate where food, fuel and fabricated products come from, and where they go once they have been expended. She has since worked on several farms across the U.S. and is currently an assistant manager of vegetable production at Willowsford Farm in VA. In addition Anya has completed artist residency programs in remote areas of Iceland and Colombia, and has exhibited work in the 2017 Cementa Festival in Kandos, NSW, Australia. Anya currently lives and works in Loudoun County, VA where she documents rural communities and contemporary agriculture through painting, photography, and sculpture.
Land for Sale by Owner: The Romance of the Exurbs (Loudoun County, VA 2017)
When I moved to Loudoun County I was disappointed. The sameness of the houses and the newness of the fabricated landscapes felt void of character. Machines worked diligently in the background, shredding the natural habitat mindlessly, shaping the monotonous scenery that was unfolding in every direction. Yet, there was a level of transparency to the region that surprised me, as if you arrived at a restaurant and saw dirty cookware scattered about the dining room. Neon orange fencing, stacks of plywood, and road work signs broke the continuity; empty plots sat awkwardly midst rows of finished houses like gap teeth.
It was by way of this transparency that I was eventually able to embrace my new home. After months spent watching my surroundings evolve, I came to value the opportunity of living in such close proximity to this radical overhaul of the landscape. I was witnessing a pivotal moment in the history of the place. I was able to see simultaneously what the land once was, and what it was about to become.
Through an investigation of biological and ideological life cycles I have cultivated a preoccupation with documenting birth and death. I look for instances where the end of a life is connected to the beginning of another. For example, abandoned buildings and spaces demonstrate the fading of a human culture and simultaneously the formation of a new ecosystem. These structures are physically decomposed by fungi, bacteria, insects, and mammals, which, in turn, disintegrates their human significance. Land development indicates the opposite process – eradication of the natural habitat and establishment of a human community. My work is both documentation and speculation of the impressions left as a result of these mortal exchanges.
I am driven by the notion that death and birth are not discernible moments but processes. Still, my desire to distill and express evidence of these perceived singular occurrences is insatiable. I am afraid to die but I am also equally afraid of living in denial of my mortality. Identifying the exact “time of death”, however hypothetical, is a kind of paranoid reassurance that I, and the contemporary society in which I am a part, will one day cease to exist. My obsession with collecting evidence indicating a passage of time serves as a reminder that the world will continue on.
My work regards the absurdity of permanence in the natural world.
To view more of Anya’s work please visit her website.