Studio #122 – Luisa Duarte

I am a Houston-based visual artist who draws inspiration from my own eclectic sources of interest and experience. Having left my native Venezuela to live in the U.S., I find that these two worlds, and a diverse blend of cultures, have shaped who I am, and have enriched my understanding of what constitutes ‘home.’

A vague sense of displacement, and, at times, an underlying yearning to ‘belong,’ leads me to create imaginary spaces that appear to straddle multiple worlds, perspectives and forms. Throughout my upbringing, I was widely exposed to contemporary non-figurative art during a time when the Latin American geometrical abstraction, constructivism and kinetic art movements were at their peak. This aesthetic, and its push to create new ‘Utopian’ cultural spaces , loosely informed my professional practice as an architect, and, continues to influence my practice as a visual artist today.

The impetus for my work is a desire to seek beauty and restore a personal sense of order and harmony to a habitat that can be as unpredictable as it is chaotic, whether that tension renders itself visible in the work, or whether it is implied, lying just beneath the surface. In these complex geometrical systems, objects intersect, merge and collide, producing negative spaces that call the viewer to attention. In some cases, the almost imperceptibly off-kilter placement of geometrical elements within a composition speaks to my emphasis on relationships – the objects always exist in relationship to each other.

Over the years, my relationship to the work has evolved from pure explorations of abstract form and color, to a more formal development of monochromatic ‘scapes’ that reduce geometrical elements to their minimum expression, both in palette and form, and to highly dynamic and complex digital works that reflect a more complex visual vocabulary that evokes a feeling of impending movement, interaction and drama. At times, these imaginary scapes are vaguely reminiscent of the landscapes one might see on the Earth’s surface from the comfort of an airplane seat, suspended high above. Much of my work seems to inhabit a temporary state of transition, and suggests a spatial relationship with time that captures the play of light and pattern on a given surface.

I am interested in experimenting with a variety of materials, tools and processes, and actively avoid holding on to preconceived notions about what constitutes ‘art’ or anything else that might inhibit the possibilities that might arise through the process or the medium. I am as interested in ‘deconstructing’ the work as I am in its construction, and I am drawn to consider endless juxtapositions.

I view my original works on paper, monotypes, limited-edition digital prints and sculptural works as various aspects of a very personal journey of self-exploration and self-expression that finds its way into the life I happen to inhabit at that moment.

I currently keep a studio in Houston, Texas, where I live with my husband and our two dogs.

Studio 122
www.luisa-duarte.com