Friday, October 09, 2015

The Ghosts of New York City Linger


“I definitely am not and never have been a realist.
Lucinda Luvaas

The California based multimedia artist Lucinda Luvaas whose idiosyncratic narrative driven works explore the interplay between abstraction and figuration in an urban setting are even today influenced by growing up in New York during the 1960’s.

In her artist’s statement for the Brooklyn Museum Luvaas writes “I’ve always seen myself as an outsider, an observer, since I was little. I remember being four years old and standing outside my home raking leaves in autumn and whispering, “I will never be like them.” I hated the cliques who taunted me in grade school. So, I learned to fend for myself, sharpen my imagination and be alert. I always needed to swim in my own lane, and carve my own story. I very naturally chose art as a way of life because of my need for individual expression.

And over the years Luvaas has developed a unique technique that she calls "Imprinting;" a hybrid between painting, relief techniques and printmaking.

As she told the Huffington Post’s John Seed “It's a painstaking process, but rewarding. The relief is made with oils, wax, acrylics, and gel and they are on wood panels. I use drawings, video stills from my short video art pieces and digital stills as well for my research materials.

And this research inevitably centers round activities within an urban setting.

“I am interested primarily in capturing people in environments where they are actively engaged in something whether it is simply walking, watching a crowd, dancing, you name it: all aspects of our daily lives and then creating a sort of imprint of history... [But] I've never wanted to depict just what I see, but rather alter things to find a deeper sense or meaning as though I am creating a living being that pulsates and moves with emotions and feelings. This I feel can really be achieved by combining abstraction and figuration. I'm very committed to figuration, but I'm devoted to it within the context of patterning: using abstract forms, to some extent reducing figuration to abstractions, although very much recognizable in their depictions of real things,” she says.

As Comrades Magazine’s Daniel McAnulty has written “Lucinda infuses an intangible glimmer of hope in even her darkest works, but most importantly a sense of good humor despite depicting some of our most embarrassing human foibles. She looks at the world with an insider’s eye and somehow manages to fill her audience in on the joke.”


Luvaas’ current exhibition Illuminations is on show at New York’s Walter Wickiser Gallery until the 27th of October.


2 comments:

Jennifer Ball said...

Wonderful work. Great review. Thank you!

James Reiss said...

I've followed Lucinda Luvaas's versatile career for decades. I think she's tops. Grateful to see this review!