Austyn Weiner - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 14, 2022 | Phillips
  • "Most of the time I approach a painting with no idea as to what it will be. But once in a while it hits like an arrow, and I know exactly what this work needs to become."
    —Austyn Weiner 

    Executed on a monumental scale and dominated by sweeping, biomorphic forms set against a scintillating yellow ground, Working Through Not Knowing A Damn Thing About Any Thing represents the evening sale debut of emerging artist Austyn Weiner. With a background in photography, Weiner works across a wide range of mediums including oil paint, crayon, and charcoal, deconstructing physicality and feeling into sensual, erotically charged forms. Working with a supercharged palette that references the richly saturated colours of her childhood in Miami, Weiner’s work is driven by an autobiographic urge – the need to translate raw emotion into ‘transfer those feelings into a visual expression’i


    Emotional Abstraction

    Born in Miami, Weiner studied photography and painting at the University of Michigan before relocating to Los Angeles in 2016 where her painterly language embraced a more expressive mode of abstraction, introducing a compositional openness through her treatment of form, line, and colour in order to more directly explore the expansive ideas of sexuality and the self, mass and movement. Retaining the documentary element of her photographic practice, Weiner’s paintings are intimate records of her inner emotional landscape, mediated through her brush directly onto the surface of the canvas. Following in the tradition of artists like Tracey Emin in this commitment to an almost diaristic honesty, Weiner has been described as a ‘rare young artist who’s committed to revealing her image rather than cultivating it.’ii

    "I think I have always been drawn to a confident and seductive aesthetic across any medium I explore. It is more about the gesture, mood, and narrative and what it calls for. And in my case, a mix of hard and soft lines, expressive automatic gestures, and thoughtful, tender moments."
    —Austyn Weiner 

    In Working Through Not Knowing A Damn Thing About Any Thing, this emotional transference plays out through an abstract mapping of fluid lines, contrasting hues, and convulsive shapes that structure the composition through the tensions and dialogues established between them. Drawing the viewer back to moment of creation with a powerful emotional charge, the primordial forms that dominate her compositions recall the surreal abstractions of Grace Pailthorpe and Arshile Gorky. As an artist bridging European Surrealism and American abstraction, Gorky’s own interest in materialising the shifting patterns of the subconscious provides a particularly compelling touchstone for Weiner’s expressive inner landscapes. 


    Arshile Gorky, Composition, 1936 – 39, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minnesota. Image: © Minneapolis Institute of Art / The Francisca S. Winston Fund / Bridgeman Images

    Pandemic and Performance


    During the first three months of lockdown, Weiner underwent a period of growth. Along with the rest of the world, plans and routines shattered around her, and she had to adjust. Left with nothing to reinforce her practice from outside of herself, the artist redirected her focus inwards. Suddenly uninhibited and released from the boundaries of preconceived ideas, she felt free to respond intuitively to her creative impulses. Previously known for her abstract paintings marked by their exuberant line work, gestural energy and vibrant palette, Weiner decided to break her isolation via social media, producing daily confessional ‘performances’. The daily broadcast ‘Morning Wood with A Weiner’ allowed Weiner to articulate her isolation and mourn the absence of touch and physical intimacy, connecting with a virtual community and provoking reflections on the what it meant to her to be an artist and a woman.


    In a moment of global uncertainty, Weiner tapped into the pervasive sense of collective anxiety, translated onto her canvases in a cathartic release in works highly attuned to human insecurity such as Working Through Not Knowing A Damn Thing About Any Thing. Reflecting on this experience the artist has explained: ‘Some days I am thriving in the isolation and feel more authentic than ever. Other days, a rat in a cage, helpless and lonely. Being quarantined on my own has been challenging to say the least, but most days I feel incredibly grateful for this uninterrupted time I have had to think and create uninhibitedly.’iii


    Collector’s Digest


    • Following her first solo show at Journal Gallery in New York in 2019, Miami-born artist Austyn Weiner has moved into the international spotlight, not only for her absorbing paintings, but also for her fashion collaborations, debuted at Paris Fashion Week in 2019.

    • Weiner’s work has been the subject of  several solo shows, most recently at Carl Kostyál in London, The Journal Gallery in New York, and Bill Brady Gallery in Miami.

    • The present work was included in the group show with Rental Gallery in East Hampton. 

    i Austyn Weiner, quoted in Maria Vogel, ‘I re-evaluate Nearly Everything in My Life’: a Topsy-Turvy Year, Artist Austyn Weiner is Focused on Finding Her Painterly Rhythm’, Artnet, 5 November 2020, online.
    ii Allyson Shiffman, ‘The Obsessive Austyn Weiner’, Interview Magazine, 23 August 2013, online. 
    iii Austyn Weiner, quoted in ‘Austyn Weiner is Working her Way Through the Pandemic in the Soul Car Garage’, Whitewall, 15 May 2020, online.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, USA
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      East Hampton, Rental Gallery, Friend of Ours, 4 – 30 July 2020

    • Literature

      Maria Vogel, ‘‘I Re-Evaluate Nearly Everything in My Life’: In a Topsy-Turvy Year, Artist Austyn Weiner Is Focused on Finding Her Painterly Rhythm’, artnet News, 5 November 2020 (illustrated, online)


Working Through Not Knowing A Damn Thing About Any Thing

signed, titled, inscribed and dated ‘WORKING THROUGH NOT KNOWING A DAMN THING ABOUT ANY THING 2020 AUSTYN (PTI) L’ on the reverse of the left panel; signed, titled, inscribed and dated ‘WORKING THROUGH NOT KNOWING A DAMN THING ABOUT ANY THING 2020 AUSTYN (PTII) R’ on the reverse of the right panel
oil and acrylic on panel, in 2 parts
each 166.1 x 132.7 cm (65 3/8 x 52 1/4 in.)
overall 166.1 x 265.4 cm (65 3/8 x 104 1/2 in.)

Painted in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for £226,800

Contact Specialist

Rosanna Widén
Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+44 20 7318 4060

Olivia Thornton
Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art, Europe
+44 20 7318 4099

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 14 October 2022