I love the places where wild nature and human construction collide. I like to try to see one from the viewpoint of the other. What does nature think of architecture? What do buildings think of trees? Do they get along? Does one long to be the other? Throughout history, architecture has grappled with its relationship to nature. To blend in or to stand out? A cottage or a cathedral? And then we stopped asking the question. In Western First World Culture, we decided that the cathedral was always going to be the better option. And so we’ve built up a world of cathedrals to the point where they’ve lost all significance. Now the cathedrals (physical and metaphorical) are crumbling, our community is hurting, our planet is dying. It’s time to return to the cottage, to humility and self-reliance.

Most of my work examines the ways humans connect with the world around them, both physically and spiritually. I’ve painted the women of the world merging with nature at a soul level; I’ve explored what happens to wildly abstract landscapes when you frame and harness some aspect of them with straight lines;  I regularly examine the ways in which humans might return to a more harmonious coexistence with the rest of life on this planet. Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced most of the world to “shelter-in-place”, I’ve become particularly interested in the role that shelter plays for the human psyche: is it a physiological need or a mental/ emotional one?  What if by reimagining the concept of shelter, we can redefine our entire relationship to nature? Using a material as trivial as string to create architecture, I aim to undermine the foundational beliefs that tell us we must live apart from Nature. 

In architecture school, we talked a lot about the cottage versus the cathedral - the idea that some shelters aim to adopt a sense of harmony with the land they occupy, while others strive to stand apart, regal and distinctly human. Our culture has evolved to prize more and more the parts of our humanity that set us apart, while leaving little space for the parts of us that are completely and indistinguishably part of the ecosystem of nature as a whole. My installations aim to find the harmonious center where these disparate values can coexist. That’s why lines are so fascinating to me - they simultaneously give structure to wildness and soften the edges of construct.

In questioning where do we go from here, with our world in shambles, I imagine a future where humans once again embrace the wild nature of their origins.


ÁINE (pronounced Anya) is an artist, designer, and yogini based in Northern California. Raised on 11 acres of farmland in the Brandywine Valley of Northern Delaware, Áine grew up roaming the woods, caring for seedlings, and studying the landscape painters of the Brandywine School of Art. This upbringing fostered within her a deep reverence for the land and a fascination with the healing power of nature while laying the foundation for her personal philosophy and creative work.

Áine relocated to San Francisco in 2008, undertaking study in philosophy, ethics and fine art at the University of San Francisco. She studied abroad in Florence, Italy, where she trained under master fresco painter Mario Passavante and learned the traditional methods of grinding and mixing raw pigments to create natural paints that stand the test of time.

Áine graduated with honors and went on to pursue an MFA from The George Washington University in Interior Architecture and Design. There she studied sustainable building practices and was particularly inspired by the ideas of Paolo Soleri. She graduated in 2014 eager to create spaces that foster not only the physical health of their occupants, but their spiritual wellbeing as well.

In the past six years, Áine has organized over 20 exhibitions and installations of her work in public spaces, corporate environments, and private showings, and has participated in countless curated exhibitions around the San Francisco Bay Area. 

To mark the turning of the new decade and her own 30th birthday, in early 2020 she assumed the pseudonym ÁINE, a name that contains the complexity, style, and purpose that she aims to pursue in the next decade of her career.

She continues to transform under-utilized spaces into divine experiences through her commissioned string installations, and paints visions of a world more aware and connected through its relationship to nature.

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