Edward Cella Art & Architecture is pleased to present Driving Sunset, the gallery's first solo exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based painter Mara De Luca. An MFA graduate of CalArts, De Luca explores the conceptual and expressive potential of process-driven abstract painting. Her works are informed by her study and re-appropriation of art historical con-ventions, her visual interpretation of literary sources, and the recurring visual tropes of contem-porary high-end fashion advertising. Inspired by Los Angeles' stark contrasts, a place where beautiful natural landscapes coexist alongside endless freeways and countless billboards, De Lu-ca reveals a depth in the superficiality of surface, and an emotive complexity in formal concision.
The exhibition title, Driving Sunset, is a direct reference to Joan Didion's novel Play it as it Lays, in which its protagonist, Maria, compulsively drives the freeways of Southern California in search of meditative psychological respite. Didion's visually evocative prose is laconic and succinct, a stylistic shortness she uses to navigate intense themes of psychological trauma and displace-ment. De Luca strives to capture the terse stylistic understatement of Didion's language, and the unexpected intensity of its detachment, through her stylized sublime. By combining the formal language and technique of late modernist painting with the sensationalized language of fashion advertising, De Luca harnesses a similar combination of opposites. An expressive latency lurks beneath the seeming minimalism of her surfaces.
Mara De Luca's unique painting technique combines mixed-media elements, like the use of smooth collaged fabric and elegant metal framing "accessories," with familiar modernist devices such as hard-edging, action painting, and pouring. Her works begin with a raw unprimed canvas which is then saturated with multiple interacting pours of thin acrylic paint and fabric overlays. The resulting push and pull between expanses of monochromatic surface and areas of gradient, atmospheric depth creates an ambiguous suspension of the pictorial space. De Luca has incorpo-rated customized metal components into the structural make-up of these new paintings; part sculptural add-on and part framing device, the additions offset the paintings with clean linear ex-tremities that extend into real space.
Her new works strike a deliberate balance between the precision of geometric abstraction and the moody, emotive synthetic otherworldliness of fashion advertising. In Driving Sunset, De Luca restrains her surfaces with the superimposition of this formal control, much like the sublimation Didion's heroine finds in cultivated emptiness. By borrowing digital imaging palettes and atmos-pheric visual effects from the graphic advertising of designers like Dior, Cedric Charlier and Marc Jacobs, De Luca couples contemporary, commercial visual culture with the inherited formal ten-ets of modernism.
The exhibition will include four large abstract paintings and two medium sized works, titled, in keeping with Didion's theme of LA's restless calm, after Los Angeles freeway exits like Indio or Chino Montclair. Alongside these abstract works are five small representational pieces, direct, though romanticized, interpretations of the actual fashion advertisements that have inspired the larger abstractions. De Luca's singular sublime, much like Didion's, draws from a heavy vacancy and a difficult ease. Her love of visual and stylistic contradiction, and her tendency to find depth in aesthetic economy, informs this body of simultaneously revelatory and expertly disguised works.
Image details: Mara De Luca, Indio, 2015, Mixed media on canvas over panel with black nickel elements, 72 x 82 in. Mara De Luca, Chino Montclair, 2015, Mixed media on canvas over panel, black nickel elements 72 x 100 in.
ABOUT MARA DE LUCA
Mara De Luca is a Los Angeles-based artist who received a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University. De Luca has had solo exhibi-tions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA, Luis de Jesus, Los Angeles, CA, and Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA. She has had recent group exhibitions at OTIS Ben Maltz Ga-llery, Los Angeles, CA and the Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA, with fair presenta-tions at EXPO Chicago, PULSE Miami, and FOG, San Francisco, CA.
ABOUT EDWARD CELLA ART & ARCHITECTURE
Edward Cella Art & Architecture is committed to supporting and representing significant estab-lished, mid-career and emerging artists, architects, and designers. The gallery exhibits photog-raphy, painting, sculpture, architectural drawings, models, and design objects with an emphasis on the intersection of these disciplines.
Building on his background as an architectural historian, with over a decade of experience in art advisory and collection management, Edward Cella founded Edward Cella Art & Architecture in 2006. A collector of architectural drawings and ephemera, erotica and contemporary art, Edward Cella has cultivated a passion for interdisciplinary approaches to visual culture. Since its incep-tion, the gallery has sustained a curatorial emphasis on conceptual and material based practices, and has supported under-recognized historical estates and collections.