My work in Painting is a reflection on contemporary culture expressed though a diverse and project-driven approach to the medium. Whether through an exploration of historical conventions or by way of mimicking contemporary digital imaging tropes, I employ and exploit the complex range of the medium: its diverse genres and theoretical constructs as well as material, process and craft. A mirroring between process and representation is a central aspect to my work, whereby what is being represented and the means by which it is being represented share conceptual significance. Often, in developing process-content relationships, I invent new ways of "making" paintings; as a result, my projects display diverse aesthetics rather than a coherent style. In recent projects, I have mimicked the aesthetics of minimalist abstraction to generate painterly effects; in other work, I have implemented "expressive" or gestural, hand-made approaches as a means of investigating the impersonal and pervasive realm of digital advertisement and media.
My paintings are often made as two-shot pictures of sublime effect: a pour of thinned acrylic paint onto unprimed raw canvas, overlaid with a transparent or opaque fabric collage - a process that bears a relationship to traditional glazing techniques. I approach the use of fabric overlays as a Duchampian ready-made element- a conceptual gesture integral to the process, visual effect and overall meaning of the painting. The fabric behaves in several ways, depending on how it's being used in each pictorial context; in some paintings, I think of the overlay as a literal scrim, with direct references to theatrical sets (behaving as instant atmosphere, as in: black scrim = night). The scrim also refers to art historical precedents, Romantic painterly effects (light, fog, clouds) cross-bred with California Light and Space works (Robert Irwin's scrim installations, for example). In other pieces, where I've torn and manipulated the fabric, the overlay acts as painterly gesture, albeit without any paint or brush involved. I think of the collaged elements as analogous (in terms of the ideas I've mentioned above: instant atmospheric effect, theatricality and 'fake' painterly gesture) to the essence of what I've termed a "facile sublime" specific to Los Angeles, which ultimately is at the core of my work.
I am most inspired by the visual and emotional experience of daily life in Los Angeles, a city of stark contradictions: stunning natural beauty coexisting in a cultural climate of facile content and saturated digital aesthetics. The paintings alternately reveal and disguise the processes by which they have been made through seamless, "ready-made" gradients and atmospheric overlays as well as grossly enlarged paint gestures and material ruptures. The paintings range from a synthetic to natural palette, relating to the Los Angeles landscape in terms of scale, depth and color while evoking the emotionally charged mood of source material- whether derived from literary sources or borrowed from imagery pervasive in mass media and billboard advertisement seen throughout the city.
PRESS (PDF files)
Thirteen Questions: Interview with Mara De Luca, Artweek LA, April 2012 Pacific Standard Time: Young artists talk about the sweeping exhibit, The Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2012 Mara De Luca at Luis De Jesus, Society805.com, December 12, 2011 Mara De Luca: Leap of Faith, The Huffington Post, November 18, 2011 On and about October 21, 2012, Notes on Looking, October 21, 2011 Generational Differences, The Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2006
Born 1974, Washington, D.C.
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA, 2004 B.A., Columbia University, Department of Visual Arts, New York, NY, 1995
RECENT ONE & TWO-PERSON EXHIBITIONS
Cruise Collection 2013, Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles, CA
Even if the Lights Go Out, Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
I, curated by Carl Berg, Irvine Fine Arts Center, Irvine, CA
saltus fidei / Leap of Faith, Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles, CA
CERCA Series: Mara De Luca, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA
RECENT SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
De Stil, curated by Carl Berg, Andrew Shire Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Searchin': Los Angeles and the Quest for the Sublime, curated by Mary Coyne, Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA
MAS Attack, Mutual Appreciation Society, LA Mart, Los Angeles, CA
The Crash of Ruin Fitfully Resounds, curated by Carole Ann Klonarides and Luis De Jesus, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
ARTrageous, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA
Abstract Smallness, POST Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Immanent Domain II, Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
W.O.P.: Immanent Domain Part One, West Los Angeles Community College
Air Pressure, Glendale College Art Gallery Los Angeles, CA