Pittsburgh-based artist Mara Light paints intimate portraits of female figures whose faces and bodies are fragmented by the intervention of hazy shadows, textures, and colors. Featuring moody lighting and somber hues, the realistic forms of the women appear to be in the process of deterioration, worn away by drips and smudges of paint, torn layers of netting, and light scratches that cover the canvas’s surface.
These marks of ruin and disfigurement become tools of beauty in the artist’s skilled hands. Rather than signs of incompletion or flaws, Light’s unique use of texture, light, and color add to the atmospheric quality of the paintings, enhancing the mystery and sensuality behind the figures with downcast eyes and unsmiling lips. The result is an exquisitely moody expression of the female form.
Light, whose parents were both artists, has been drawn to creativity and painting since she was young. She says, “Art was a way to escape into my own world, a place where beauty and deep emotions had a voice. It was easier to paint an emotion rather than speak it.”