Mary Luke (b. 1991) currently lives and works in Connecticut. Luke received her BFA in Painting at Syracuse University in 2014. Her works have been exhibited in galleries such as XL Projects and 914Works (Syracuse, NY), Arch Enemy Arts (Philadelphia, PA), the Slater Memorial Art Museum (Norwich, CT) and the Westport Arts Center (Westport, CT). Luke merges existentialist theories and the human figure in her often larger than life mixed-media works.
I prefer working with raw, unstretched - or haphazardly stretched - canvas, combining oil paint, wood, plaster and regurgitated scraps of demolished artwork.
I draw inspiration from my studies in existentialism. John Sartre plays an integral part in the production of my work, pairing well with my strongest artist influences, including Anselm Kiefer, Francis Bacon, Kathe Kollwitz, and Egon Schiele. Painting intangible concepts such as existence, life, death, consciousness, etc. creates such a gravitational pull - one that unites us all through a unique combination of terror and comfort.
Mortality is an ongoing theme in my work - both conceptually and literally; my paintings tend to be non-archival and must - as we all must -inevitably die. They will decay, rot, what have you, and return to the natural world as they came. And that's the beauty. There is no iconic or "larger than life" aspect to my work; it is just as fragile and temporary as anything else. The biggest tragedy I can imagine is that my paintings ever be denied death - mummified in varnish and suffocated behind conservation glass...kept alive on "art life support" so to speak. As if IT actually matters.
Physicality is not a prerequisite for existence or purpose.
Untitled, (2016) 50" x 85" Mixed media on canvas photo credit: Jake Di Pietro
Untitled, (2016) 50" x 40" Acrylic and charcoal on canvas photo credit: Jake Di Pietro
Flesh, (2016) 50" x 40" Mixed media on canvas photo credit: Jake Di Pietro
Untitled, Diptych (2016) L: 50x30" R: 54x30" Acrylic, mixed media on canvas photo credit: Jake Di Pietro