As if Maiya—a recovering red panda cub living at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia—wasn’t already completely adorable, the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 2-month-old has recently been photographed with a cuddly new companion: a same-species stuffed animal. In November, Amala, a beloved red panda at the zoo, gave birth to Maiya. At first, the little one was happy and healthy. Not long ago, however, she was traumatically injured while being carried in her mother’s mouth.
It’s almost as if Alexandra Pacula paints what she sees while driving drunk at 100 mph. “My work investigates a world of visual intoxication; it captures moments of enchantment, which are associated with urban nightlife,” says the New York-based artist born in Poland.
“I am fascinated by the ambiance of the city at night and its seductive qualities. The breathtaking turbulence of speeding vehicles and hasty pedestrians evoke feelings of wonder and disorientation. The vibrant lights become a magical landscape with enticing opportunities and promises of fulfillment.”
Pacula paints with oil to recreate the feeling of dizziness and confusion. She then lets the paint blur, allowing shapes to dissolve.
“I suggest motion in order to slow down the scene and capture the fleeting moments, which tend to be forgotten,” she says. “By interpreting lights in graphic or painterly ways, I create a sense of space, alluding to a hallucinogenic experience. I want the viewer's eye to travel within my composition and experience a familiar exhilarating event of an actual nightly excursion.”
Alexandra Pacula’s website
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