The first exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, New York, of artist Luchita Hurtado focuses on her early career, during the 1940s and 1950s, defined by prolific experimentation.
The pieces on view range between different techniques, such as crayon and ink paintings on board and paper, graphite and ink drawings and oil paintings on canvas, all exploring the connections between the body and the the environment around it. Hurtado mixes abstraction and representation, recalling surrealist elements, geometric patterns and vaguely biomorphic figures.
These earlier works, which were produced by the artist during spare moments, recall the colours and the landscapes of Mexico, where the artist lived, and her native Venezuela; she continued to experiment with these motifs throughout the 50s, creating paintings and drawings of surreal landscapes and totemic figures. The exhibition is named after one of the paintings on view, “Luchita – Dark Years”, a self-portrait in which the artist’s face emerges from a dark-coloured background, marking a shift towards Hurtado’s investigation of self-affirmation.