Shadow Play

Lucia Zezza



A setting LA sun casts orange light across my backyard where I tape down three sheets of paper, each beneath the subject, a moving shadow. Ink and graphite in hand, I time my rotation from one sheet to the next, as the spinning earth begins to stretch the shadows out with greater speed. Time is on my heels, so I allow the strokes to become actors of their own volition.

The shadows, like fields of paint, layer their bodies upon the planar surfaces, but drawing divides the shadows, interrupting their calm while satisfying my search for clarity. In his “Thoughts on Drawing,” Robert Motherwell declares, “I personally like that dividing to be as decisive and fast as the cracking of an Argentinian’s bullwhip.” Perhaps then, painting is the bull. When I draw, I think less and make marks with unconscious control. When I paint, by contrast, conscious formalism can get the better of me. More and more, I am interested in the intersections between what is felt and what is decided; a doodle and a planned composition.

Growing up in Los Angeles has shaped my work in many ways. It is the planar topography of this horizontal city that compels me to think of mapping when I draw, as in forming lines that are constantly changing and merging with other straighter or curvier ones when I wander through this city.


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