Looking at the paintings of Aandra Aabdock–uninhibited, surreal, quirkily funny and often vaguely sinister–one could easily imagine her work hanging smartly on the sponge-painted walls of a between-the-wars Parisian salon, and could visualize the tall slender artist herself as its elegant doyenne.
In reality, however, nothing could be further from this image. Ms Aabdock, descended from settlers of Oregon’s western frontier, was born in Los Angeles in 1955 and spent the first three decades of her life–school, worship, social activities, work–all within, as she puts it, “a fundamentalist bubble.” Daughter of a physician and a nurse, she concentrated on scientific studies and had virtually no exposure to any of the arts. This omission was cured in 2001 when the self-described “former suburban housewife” visited New York City and “saw ideas floating in the air when I first came out of Penn Station.” She instantly decided to move to Manhattan.
Although Ms Aabdock had briefly studied black-and-white photography and taught herself to hand-tint her photos, which led her to investigate decoupage and collage, it was not until 2008, when she “stumbled across” the Art Students League and enrolled in that world-famed school, that she began painting highly original oils on canvas.
Currently, she works out of her art studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.