Layers of natural beauty, predators and prey, in Julia Lucey art Leave a comment

January 19, 2023

I’m in love with the enchanting art of California artist Julia Lucey, who’s currently exhibiting her mixed media collages at Austin’s Wally Workman Gallery. I went to see them on Tuesday and stood enraptured before each one, watching as hidden details revealed themselves amid ravishing colors and floral exuberance.

Many of the pieces reverse the motif of a hidden predator. Lucey’s predators — coyote, otter, bobcat — look straight at you, unafraid, while their prey — rabbits, fish — circle around, partially disguised and silhouetted among leaves and flowers.

Lucey constructs her fable-like worlds by making aquatint etchings, printing them, cutting out elements by hand, and collaging them, layer upon layer.

Wildflowers, leafy trees, and wild creatures that make their homes among the flora come to curious life under her gaze.

On Lucey’s website she writes, “Some collages reference scientific articles I have read about animal behavior and ecology. In other collages, I set the animal gaze out toward the viewer in judgment. And in others, the pieces are simply about the magical feeling of being in a wild space.”

You can learn more about her work in an interview at Cultivating Place with podcaster Jennifer Jewell, recorded in 2018. There I learned that Lucey exhibits her work each January at Wally Workman Gallery.

If you’re in Austin and want to see Lucey’s works, or maybe even buy one (I would be so envious!), go soon. The exhibit ends on January 29.

What goes with art? Tacos! After the gallery visit, my companions and I drove over to Littlefield’s charming patio in Tarrytown, where we devoured delicious grilled fish tacos and migas tacos from Veracruz All Natural under a beautiful blue sky and an arbor hung with moon-like pendants. A perfect morning in the ATX.

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Digging Deeper

Come learn about garden design from the experts at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added. You can find this year’s speaker lineup here.

Make plans to attend the Budding Out Plant Sale & Festival on March 18 at the John Fairey Garden in Hempstead, TX. Rare and distinctive plants will be offered, as well as art, ceramics, jewelry, food, drink, music, and other entertainment for the whole family. Members have early access and get in free. Non-member admission is $5. Children 12 and under are free.

Experience the Surreal Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden, an enchanting neon-art display throughout the gardens, with food and drink, music and dancing, surreal performers, and interactive art sculptures. Surreal costumes encouraged! 25% of event proceeds benefit the Zilker Botanical Garden Conservancy. Runs April 6 (VIP Night), April 7-8, and April 13-15, from 6:30 pm to 11 pm.

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