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Mara Light’s Female Subjects Emote Through Textured Layers

"All people- and nature itself- have distinctive layers," says Pittsburgh based painter Mara Light. Teetering between a classical sense of realism and abstraction, her textured oil paintings aim to explore the layers of ourselves that we show and the others we hide within. Her subject matter is almost always women, whose emotions permeate the surface of her work's repetitive layering, scrapes, tears and drips of turpentine over certain areas, a process she enjoys for its unpredictable nature. For her current series, titled "Beneath the Surface," she sees her artistic explorations as more than a way to add visual interest to her work, but also as a metaphor for her personal experiences.

“All people- and nature itself- have distinctive layers,” says Pittsburgh based painter Mara Light. Teetering between a classical sense of realism and abstraction, her textured oil paintings aim to explore the layers of ourselves that we show and the others we hide within. Her subject matter is almost always women, whose emotions permeate the surface of her work’s repetitive layering, scrapes, tears and drips of turpentine over certain areas, a process she enjoys for its unpredictable nature. For her current series, titled “Beneath the Surface,” she sees her artistic explorations as more than a way to add visual interest to her work, but also as a metaphor for her personal experiences. Underneath a chaotic visual world of washes, lines and grids, her subjects exist in harmony, a balance that Light seeks to achieve in her own life. In her artist statement, she shares, “The more layers I paint, the more interesting and thought provoking the surface becomes. For me, this is a metaphor for humans and how we are shaped by what we have experienced. I use transparent materials between the layers of paint so that the earlier paint stages leave faint traces underneath showing through, and one always sees the steps. My intention is to arrive at a balance between the order and the chaos, light and dark, tradition and expression, always searching for the balance, as I do in life.”

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