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Artist Luchita Hurtado's Enchanted Works on Display in Santa Monica
By Jorge Casuso
November 17, 2017 -- After creating enchanted surrealistic works for 70 years, Santa Monica-based artist Luchita Hurtado is seeing a resurgence of interest in her art, which is currently on display in Santa Monica.
"Luchita Hurtado: Figures and Icons" -- at the Annenberg Community Beach House through January 4 -- features figurative works by the Venezuelan-born artist that span from the 1940s to the 1990s.
They include self-portraits in multiple styles and works that feature iconographic imagery the artist has turned to since she first began to paint, exhibit organizers said.
"Hurtado's figurative works maintain sinewy lines that alternate between bold, dashing, and quick strokes, to more ambiguous and etched contours of otherworldly subjects, and also of her self," organizers said.
"The artist’s pictures interweave the primordial and ancient with the spiritual and otherworldly, generating a distinctive and fluid mysticism that characterizes Hurtado's output."
Hurtado's recent exhibits have won glowing reviews in the major art magazines.
Her intimate paintings, drawings and engravings have been described as fierce, lithe and surrealistic, a style the 97-year-old artist turned to when the movement was young.
Catherine G. Wagley praised an exhibition at Park View, a two-year-old apartment gallery near MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, in ARTnews
"It’s unusual to see work like Hurtado’s—lithe, fierce, Surrealist-informed abstractions, clearly of an earlier era—at such a small, young space," Wagley wrote. "It is also gratifying.
"Hurtado’s paintings, most made with ink, watercolor, and crayon, invite intimate, up-close viewing. Happily, distance isn’t really an option in a one-bedroom apartment in the city."
LA Times art critic Christopher Knight said that spirits dwell in Hurtado's works, which resemble pictographs from ancient and modern cultures.
"Hurtado’s work was multicultural before multicultural was cool," Knight wrote. "In the midst of the era’s industrial-strength brutality, born of racist claims of ethnic and cultural superiority, an artistic search was on to discover ways to begin anew.
"And yet, there is nothing apocalyptic in Hurtado’s drawings, nothing that reveals fear of disaster and ultimate doom. Forms pull apart yet remain poised and in balance."
Hurtado, who has lived for years on Mesa Road in Santa Monica canyon, says she still spends time in her studio.
"If you live long enough, you will feel like you’ve had three lifetimes," Hurtado told Artforum.
"Luchita Hurtado: Figures and Icons," was developed by Hurtado with the assistance of Ryan Good and Paul Soto.
The Annenberg Community Beach House is located at 415 Pacific Coast Hwy. Parking is available for $3 per hour or $8 per day. The parking machine accepts cash and credit card. Ample bike parking is available.
The Beach House is wheelchair accessible and ADA compliant. For disability related accommodations, call Guest Services at 310-458-4904.
To view & make reservations for future free Beach=Culture events, check annenbergbeachhouse.com/beachculture
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