ABOUT THE WORK
I am a writer of letters. For me, written correspondence permits a naturalness of expression – of intimacy, connectedness, and affection – that is different from communication through technological means. I send letters to friends – sometimes just images, though often words and sentences. I am drawn to books based on letters – epistles – taking pleasure in a story’s unfolding through short, postmarked stories. The letter writing tradition also plays a vital role across my creative practice, and my current work is based upon on it.
For these works, I began by writing love letters between myself and a fictional woman, invoked from another plane. The letters share both the mundane and the precious — as love letters, they build an intimate vocabulary. Marked by the dates, the repetition of such an interchange captures not just the passage of time, but an evolution of two hearts engaged in the process of healing one another. Once transcribed, the letters are torn apart and merged into the painting; small sighs amid the intensity of texture and the energetic gestures of blue paint.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
My grandmother, a photographer, taught me composition as a young child. I followed her, studying photography at Texas Woman’s University and then dance at Mills College. I finally completed my degree in Interdisciplinary Performance in a University Without Walls program in Chicago.
In 2000, I became gravely ill. The resulting series of surgeries left my body permanently disfigured—my back covered with scar tissue and my abdomen distended, with no muscles left to support it. These paintings provide a way for me to reach for the sense of self creation that so moved me growing up. Using pattern paper to texture the surface of the canvas, I create a mirror of scar tissue and the wrinkling of aged skin, followed by an impasto technique as I continue with layers of paint.
In what feels to be both active and reflective, I also paint my body and press it directly upon the canvas in some of the paintings. Part of reclaiming my body is a reclaiming of my sexuality, so more recently, I’ve begun weaving in the text from personal love letters. With this work I hope to explore the body, identity, and intimacy.
website: See more of Ara Lucia’s work here.