Sunday, June 23, 2013

Abstract Devices

The WhiteStar Bar is dimly lit and the pieces are hung high above the heads of patrons, which makes it difficult to appreciate the moody, at times darkly emotional, aspects invoked by the work, a series of uniquely made abstractions by Luca Cusolito.

The opening of Left to My Own Devices / New Works by Luca Cusolito was delayed by the relentless spring thunder storms; it was originally scheduled to debut the first week of June.  It is now up at White Star on Brunswick Street for a few weeks.

Luca, who hails from Florida, is an art organizer and advocate, has been part of the Jersey City art scene for the several years, but was reluctant to show her pieces, especially in an exhibition devoted exclusively to her own work. Previously, she had only been part of group shows. But guess what. The work started selling; she started getting more inspired.
While having little to no formal training in art, Luca has been making art since her teen years. The current abstractions – which are layers of paint on canvas beneath a glass surface – began under unusual circumstance: quarantine and pox.

About two years ago, Luca was stricken with adult Chicken Pox. Spots covered her body and she was under doctor orders not to leave the body until her complexion normalized. With the only the paint and other scarce art supplies at hand in her home, she constructed her first abstractions. A friend and neighbor who also dabbled as an art curator saw the work and persuaded Luca to sell her the piece and adamantly encouraged her to produce more. The pieces were included in subsequent group shows. All the original abstracts produced during the pox phase have been purchased.

The core of the Left To My Own Devices show are  4” x 4” canvases, which clustered together on one of the brick-red wall of the White Star Bar seemed to be a single, mosaic-like work of art of its own. They also exemplify the work itself. Using different types of paint – acrylics, oil, water, etc. – she layers the various substances and colors – 28 layers in some cases – and once the desired effect is achieved, she places the glass on top of the paint, which by drying affixes it to the work, essentially creating a glossy result and a protective cover. “It has to be timed just right, or else the time is wasted,” she says.

In other words, unless each step is properly timed, there is no art. While the steps are the same, each piece is distinctive. “It is intentional to some degree, but it is also accidental each one comes out.”

Do the at least partially spontaneous outcomes also result from a deliberate expression of feeling? While deliberation seems to be at a minimum when it comes to inspiration an abstraction jag, feeling does provoker to produce. “When I am in the mood, I work on the art, I tend do a lot at one time.”

Outlet or urge, in the final analysis does the root motivation really matter as much as the clever and creative result? In addition to the 4” x 4” 's, there were larger pieces using the same glass and canvas production methods. Others used a resin finish instead of glass; the abstractions resembled drips and splashes but had a more textured surface. Another piece featured gel-caps filled with glitter within a brownish-pink color, invoking a bleak decadence (this party did not end well).

The pill pieces may have been unusually blatant, the oft-obscured dark mood dominated many of the pieces making up the “Left to My Own Devices” exhibition, which seemed to contradict the upbeat enthusiasm Luca radiates. She is a bit of a jack-of-all trades, involved with several Jersey City based organizations as well as entrepreneurial  endeavors including Creative Enabler, a digital public relations company serving creative types and Lollibomb Beauty, a line of hand-made soap and cosmetics.  

Until now, her art was secondary on her agenda. “I think I’m going to be spending more time with it.”





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