Summer Tunes & Blooms

10 online-exclusive artworks by leading contemporary abstractionist, Katrina Cuenca.

From the cover story of Art+ Magazine Issue 67, Glimpse of the Ethereal, written by Gwen Bautista:

Drawn by Gustav Klimt and Brad Kunkle’s use of gold leaf paint in their works, Cuenca used the gilding technique in creating metallic groundings for her paintings. However, the artist is also drawn to how colors interact with light. In fact, she recently acquired Black 3.0, a black acrylic pigment that absorbs up to 99% light. Developed by British artist Stuart Semple and Culture Hustle, Black 3.0 is Semple’s critique of Anish Kapoor’s exclusive Vantablack.

Cuenca states, “I like how light affects the metallics in the paintings and how light becomes an external medium that interacts with the piece.” Thus, the same level of grounding can be observed in her works where light places emphasis on the lightness of the subjects, as if they are floating in mid-air or just hovering in the universe. In her works, there’s a sense of serenity that can be felt: one that absorbs the noise and the chaos, yet allows one’s self to be at peace within.

While working on [her first solo exhibition], Cuenca received the unfortunate news that her mother was suffering from cancer and would succumb to the disease in less than five months. Cuenca was devastated by the gravity of the loss and how sudden everything was. Somehow, this led to her new series where she painted what looked like fins of Betta fish over metallic grounds. The Betta fish was her mother’s favorite.

“They’re actually inspired by fins of fish or fabric, and how they move when they’re underwater. I came up with this new series shortly after my mom passed away. I didn’t handle the loss very well. I was really, actually grieving for the first time in my life and I didn’t know how to handle it. This series is about what I learned during that difficult time. I realized that when you feel that level of pain, instead of fighting it, you should allow yourself to feel it. Same goes with love. The more you fight it, the more damage it does to you. But when you allow yourself to feel it, you eventually find peace.”