Tristen Weller began her artistic career by fishing magazine clippings out of garbage cans and pasting them in a diary. It’s not the most glamorous beginning, but over the last few years, Weller’s pages — which were nothing more than random smatterings of glossy photos — have developed into restrained, sophisticated collages.
It’s a transformation that has earned the 20-year-old Weller a spot in the upcoming exhibition “Falling Off” at OPEN Gallery.
Weller will be showing her work alongside Louisville artist Asha Nagaiya (known by the mononym Asha), who has undergone somewhat of a transformation herself.
“I mostly drew and painted growing up,” Asha says. “But about 15 years ago, I was drawn to digital design.”
Asha says she still draws and paints, but the worlds she can create on a computer screen have opened her eyes to new ways of expressing herself. She describes her work as a “little surreal, a little dark,” which explains why her work has been paired with Weller’s.
And that’s not where the similarities end.
Perhaps, most notably, both artists experiment with unique presentations of the female form. Asha’s work places women in empty or intergalactic backgrounds, spacey and suspended; Weller instead focuses on specific parts of the female anatomy, cutting and pasting them into a context completely divorced from their origins.
The result for both is dreamlike, which Asha says she intended.
“I wanted some realistic stuff to come across in my work,” she says. “But I also wanted it to seem more surreal and more abstract, and not completely like ‘that’s an actual photograph,’ but that it’s something between reality and imagination.”
Both artists also agree they are still developing their techniques and aesthetic.
“A year ago, I would have never known I would be doing collage,” Weller says. “So who knows what I will be doing a year from now?”
“Falling Off: The Art of Asha + Tristen Weller” will be on view at OPEN Gallery (2801 S. Floyd Street) from Aug. 20 — Sept. 13. More information is available here.