EMBRACE GOLD LEAF AND OILS
REBECCA GUAY exposes the secrets behind her unashamedly romantic artwork
Red Sugar is a 48x60-inch fixed diptych in oil and 23K gold leaf, on two canvases. It’s a very personal work that was shown at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery back in August. The painting explores the ideas of sensuality and surrealism that have been central themes in all of my work since I made the shift to gallery work in 2011.
I drew the artwork in graphite and powdered graphite and water over canvas, which had been gessoed and sanded multiple time to achieve a smooth surface. I then worked in oil to complete the final piece. I wanted to convey the sensuality of the embracing figures in a dream-like environment while depicting the weight and the gravity of the metallic in the gold. Thus there are two contrasting aspects: the heaviness of the gold versus the fleeting quality of the embrace. My figures are drifting over a graphic and barren yet beautiful landscape below, which again underlines the surreal flight of passion.
Red Sugar is an unabashedly romantic piece that I painted in earnest and without irony. But I believe it exists beyond its surface beauty. My hope is that there’s emotional complexity on show as well: complexity in the dark and the light of the piece, the grip of the figures, the intensity of their bodies, the hands and faces, the gravity of the embrace – within the floating, surreal world.