Cathy Della Lucia
Cathy Della Lucia (b. 1989 South Korea) is a Boston-based artist working predominantly in sculpture, ceramics and installation. She received a BA in studio art at Xavier University and MFA in sculpture from Boston University.
Her work considers the role of objects, the body and raw material as systems and vessels that carry, conceal, conduct and connect. She uses modularity as a medium to explore ideas of unbelonging, identity construction, and the fetishization of human labor. Her practice is deeply focused on touch and material sensibility as a way of connecting with Korean traditions of craft and collaborating with familiar materials that are collected from the excess waste of local craftsmen, furniture builders and home construction.
Della Lucia has exhibited work at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery (Boston, Massachusetts), Piano Craft Gallery (Boston, Ma), Able Baker Gallery (Portland, Maine), Ara Art Center (Seoul, Korea), Sang Myung Gallery (Seoul, Korea), Miseul Segye Gallery (Seoul Korea), Art Copenhagen (Copenhagen, Denmark). She has completed residencies at Vermont Studio Center and The Blue House (Dayton, OH). She has an upcoming exhibition at Radial Gallery of the University of Dayton in the fall of 2023. Della Lucia is an assistant professor of sculpture at Boston College.
I define my practice through touch, labor, impulse, and damage control. The only constants in my studio are: something will need to be fixed, something will be lost, and I will regret gluing those things together. The chaos of thought, tool, action and raw material is structured only by hyper-focus on material intimacy and interest craft tradition and its ties to my biological, adoptive, and gender-based identity.
I choose to work with materials that can withstand touch at its most aggressive and sensitive to the delicate. I am drawn to the familiarity of clay and wood histories in everyday spaces and their roles as objects of protection, desire, productivity, and violence. Through shaping, carving and sanding, I am negotiating with the material to remember my touch. Material investigation informs ideas of my own connection to labor as a measure of value, privilege to create, and object permanence in an increasingly digital and impersonal culture.
Attention is a rare commodity. The absence of attention is its most tangible form. It is most abundant when it is directed towards the wrong thing. In my experience, that takes the form of a peculiar but familiar object, a shoddy DIY fix, an awkward-overly-specific device, and a quirky habit between thing and human. Using this as inspiration, I am interested in creating tangible form out of the void of attention by devoting space and time to explore the strange fragments of these objects and their idiosyncrasies.
Abstraction is less a pursuit and more of a consequence of material translation, attention to tactility, and the focus of modularity over familiarity. As the fragmented parts accumulate, modularity between part and the whole takes precedence over loyalty of the original object. The significance of the sculpted object is defined by what it is doing — how it is affecting, supporting, and responding to another — rather than what it resembles.
Modularity is the solution to embracing error and allowing for fluctuation of focus. Using furniture joinery techniques and tension, I am able to create forms with bodily presence using only small, scrap material that can be easily disassembled and reassembled, and most importantly, moved and manipulated on my own. The work is built to come apart. It is made with the idea that it will need to change.
The avoidance of permanent joinery is a rejection of certainty and commentary about the spatial, material, and stereotypical constraints at play as the artist. By exposing the joinery and leaving some voids unfilled, I seek to consider the less than obvious types of joints — haphazard, temporary or secure — that make up our own constructions of identity and perception of wholeness.