Mara De Luca | Capricorn Rising

Jan 13 - Feb 24, 2024 7722 Girard Avenue
Installation Views
Reception: Saturday January 20, 2024, 6-8 PM
Quint Gallery is pleased to begin the new year with Capricorn Rising, an exhibition of recent paintings by Mara De Luca. De Luca’s painting practice, informed by the unique qualities of her surroundings and place, studies the psychological and emotional impact of light and landscape. The works in Capricorn Rising were created over the past year, begun during a period as artist-in-residence at the Monira Foundation in Jersey City, New Jersey. During these winter months, De Luca commuted to her studio from Brooklyn, NY, experiencing the ascent and descent of sunlight on shortened days and the fleeting hours of daylight against the backdrop of industry that exists around the perimeter of the New York City skyline. 

In contrast, she often spent free time attending the city’s ballet and opera performances, drawing continued inspiration from the theatricality and set lighting of their artificial backdrops. Influenced by the imposing and romantic nature of these sets, she took this opportunity to work on a grander scale in her own studio. The largest painting in the exhibition, The Lovers 2, is made up of two canvases totaling nearly 11 feet in length, with paint poured and layered onto unprimed canvas on one side, and painted with a gradient monochrome on the other. Accidental, approximate gestures result in striking paintings of clouded skies and nighttime realms inspired by those she took notice of in the city and in theatrical productions. Transformation, whether physical or spiritual, is alluded to by the monochrome portions as illusionistic fades created by a repeated systematic merging of two colors.
Tondo works like Blue Dusk also introduce this contradiction of terms: she invites a viewer into the illusion while forcing the consideration of a flat surface. Rounded edges contrast with metal elements that cut the canvas in distinguished halves, at times concealed unless it catches the light like a glass window from a setting sun. These atmospheric abstractions, heavily layered or poured, present a combination of paired elements side-by-side and create a direct comparison of spatial and lighting contexts, expressed through distinct approaches to the act of painting. 
Mara De Luca received a MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA and a BA from Columbia University, Department of Visual Arts, New York, NY. De Luca has had solo exhibitions at TOTAH (New York), Edward Cella Art and Architecture (Los Angeles), and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. De Luca is a recipient of the 2019 California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists. She has been a lecturer at UC San Diego since 2006. She lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. 

Support for the making of this work was awarded to Mara De Luca by an Academic Senate Grant from the UCSD Visual Arts Department.
Selected Works