Aniela Preston

About Aniela Preston

Aniela Preston is studying at the University of Leeds. Her work aims to portray the relationship of the individual within the natural world. She is drawn to classical figures within art, and in her paintings, she places them within unnatural spaces and settings. She takes inspiration from the narrative nature of religious artworks, and her paintings likewise dramatize secular scenes. She experiments predominantly with colour palettes, which she selects to add to the ambivalence of the scenes they portray. Painting primarily in acrylic, she hopes to show the strangeness of everyday life. And after a period of isolation, she hopes the paintings reignite interest in the natural world.


My paintings endeavour to take a renewed approach to the presumed ‘condemned’ genre of portraiture. The evidence of a narrative, albeit unconfirmed, is an important and residing aspect of my work. This element, is something I found particularly compelling after studying the religious works of Italian Renaissance Painters during my year abroad in Milan. Above all, I am drawn to their innate capability to present a story which does not require further explanation, simple motifs which have demonstrated for centuries the potential of a painting to truly say ‘1000 words’. Within my work this narrative is neither confirmed nor concluded; the paintings operate like stills from a film, where the characters are just as unknown.

Since the return of lockdown for the majority of my final year at university, and the subsequent increase of time spent trapped between four physical walls, my paintings have increasingly begun to depict exotic climes and luscious vegetation. The paintings thus become a window into the natural beauty and allure of the outside world, for when staying inside is most necessary.