Presenting his work for the first time in the Untitled Art Fair, Brazilian artist Sergio Lucena has a uniquely sensitive understanding of light and color. Inspired by his childhood in the arid wilderness filled with striking characters – who inhabited his early figurative paintings – and by the breathtaking natural landscapes he quietly observed from the top of a hill rock – that informed his transition into abstraction –, Lucena creates deep surfaces (after all, the skin of things can also show us as much as we can find inside). The piercing vibrant palette of his previous works has gradually given place to more pastel colors, in a kind of veil that covers the image; some pieces suggest land or seascapes, while in others a circle emerges from within.
The canvases receive countless layers of paint, holding two or three pounds of tinted matter. However, the result of the large continuous brushstrokes that cover them from top to bottom is also airy, soft and subtle. Some of his works require over a year of dedication, and demand intense bodily energy. The artist’s repetitive gestures aren’t immediately apparent, but seeing him paint is almost like watching a dance. He paints in a ritualistic manner, beyond rational thought and systematic procedure, not just about adding layers of paint – these paintings are his quest to find universal mysteries, to uncover something higher.
This spiritual aspect opens a different dimension in the understanding of his work. Light has many meanings and symbolisms, as his paintings have many layers, literally and figuratively. When he researched the meaning of light, a surprising concept was revealed. The word luz, which means 'light' in Portuguese (the artist's mother tongue in Brazil), has a different mystical extent in English. Luz comes from a Hebrew word that refers to a bone in the spinal column, either in its top or bottom, which is believed to be indestructible – Jewish and Muslim faiths claim that it is from this unbreakable bone that our bodies will be rebuilt when we resurrect. This myth is incredibly fitting – light is the spine of Lucena’s works. It structures his process and his plasticity; it is the backbone for his colors and the spirit of his narratives.
UNTITLED ART FAIR
Dec. 6-10 2017
Preview Tuesday, December 5th
Ocean Drive and 12th Street
Miami Beach, FL 33139