Eric Sanders: “Annamotion” at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art

An Artist’s Personal Dive into Figurative Exploration

Annamotion, a series of monochromatic figurative paintings by LA artist Eric Sanders, opened at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art in June as part of the Japan 22nd International Art Exchange. In this recent series, Sanders navigates the nuanced landscape of the female figure through a grayscale lens while reconsidering the idea of a muse.

The title “Annamotion” is a play on words referencing Sanders’ muse and wife, Anna. In the exhibit, Anna is not simply presented as an observed subject. Sanders’ approach seeks to question and re-evaluate the traditional artist-muse relationship. Through the progression of canvases, Anna appears atop a metaphorical staircase, looking down, emanating an aura of self-awareness.


Shedding light on his conceptual approach, Sanders elaborates:

“In these paintings I engage with, and work against, the traditional artist/muse relationship. Anna is presented as a self-assured and empowered figure. Pulling inspiration from Gerhard Richter and Eadweard Muybridge, referencing gestural markings from Jenny Saville and Cy Twombly, it has been very rewarding to see my influences synthesize through this series.”

What emerges in Annamotion is not just the individuality of Sanders’ style, but a synthesis of his varied influences, so they are distilled in a unique visual narrative.

The artist’s background gives context to his vision. Originally from Pennsylvania, Sanders was mentored by his father, an accomplished amateur painter. His journey, transitioning from art during his youth to entrepreneurship, then back to art, lends depth to his work. The influences of his diverse life experiences are subtly evident in his pieces, making them both layered and accessible.

Annamotion is as a reflective exploration into figurative art, marked by Sanders’ personal connections and interpretations. Through his muse, Anna, Sanders invites viewers into a contemplative space, prompting them to engage with notions of observation, introspection and representation.


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