Interview: Marcia Lorente Howell
Luca Curci talks with Marcia Lorente Howell during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2021, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Marcia is a Californian-Spanish oil on canvas painter living in New York’s West Village. She has exhibited in Madrid, Milan, New York and the Hamptons, her art has been turned into cashmere scarves sold at luxury retailer Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong. Marcia is an impressionist who paints on the floor and at such rapid fire, she captures a view to an eternal New York as if seen through a speeding window cab or the beach in Montauk. “I’m a surfer, I paint surf and sunsets off photos I took of places I love. I’m seeking to catch the feeling of a perfect moment. I want to cause an effect on the viewer like they’re riding on a wave”. Marcia grew up in Madrid which has no beach, so she took to painting the ocean as a kid as a means to treasure her summers in Encinitas and Málaga. She was trained at the Madrid Royal Academy of Fine Arts and by her two grandmothers, one was a student of Sorolla. Marcia says she wouldn’t be a painter without Pollock, Rothko, Picasso, Van Gogh, and if Monet hadn’t decided to paint the sky the color of butter. Her art requires to be seen, moves with the eye and fills a room. Fast brushstrokes both delicate and raw, translucent and thick, crash and light up large canvases like a good sunset would. “I paint to catch that life force behind everything. I believe in art’s power to transform our perception of reality in a physical way. It’s an unconscious language our body recognizes”. Marcia is also a social and environmental activist who owns an art gallery in New York City dedicated to promoting exceptional (women) artists and creating more diversity in the arts.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Marcia Lorente Howell – I grew up in Madrid, I’m half Spanish and half American. My two grandmothers were painters and encouraged my art from an early age. Grammy Marcia handed me my first oils and my abuela Filomena was a student of Sorolla’s, she had a fine arts degree at a time women didn’t go to college. I use my two last names as an homage to them. I would not be a painter if it hadn’t been for them. I knew from an early age that my art was a gift I had inherited from them.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
MLH – I live in New York’s West Village and I turned my home into my painting studio, so I paint at home, I’m very lucky. I paint on the floor, usually in the morning. I always paint off a photo I took of either me walking my dog or at the beach. I spent time between New York, California and Spain so that’s what I paint. I seek to capture a passing moment, a flash of color and light that makes me happy. I think… does this capture the moment? Is this how it felt like? Would other people feel the feeling? And that’s what I paint.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
MLH – Controlling the accident as Pollock would say. Part of me is in the control, another part is not. Knowing how to balance that is the most challenging. It’s like surfing. There’s you, and there’s the wave.
LC – How do you choose your subjects? Is it a reasoned or an instinctive process?
MLH – I paint places I love and moments I’m happy, where the beauty around me is undeniable. I must have been in that place, at that moment, or else it doesn’t work. That’s the only rational part. Everything else is instinct.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
MLH – It’s to reveal the truth. In my case, I’m revealing beauty. I want people to feel good. I believe art can cause a physical change in a viewer. I call it Arte Feliz, Joy Art. It’s like watching a gorgeous sunset. You have to stop and watch. You’re not the same afterward. It reminds us we’re not alone.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
MLH – I 100% believe art is a means to unlock the unconscious. And we can’t know who we are, our identity, without art. Natural beauty can play a part but it’s not ours, it’s not human-made. Art is our creation and how we contribute to that conversation, how we find out who we are, why we’re here.
LC – Can you explain something about the painting you have in our exhibition?
MLH – It’s a sunset over the Hudson River in my neighborhood, New York’s West Village. Some summer days, usually after a storm, when the sun sets on the river it lights people up like matchsticks and the sky breaks up in every imaginable color. In a city that never stops it’s a breathtaking moment, everyone stops and looks and takes pictures. If I’m home, I’ll run over and make sure I don’t miss it. That day I was running, I think you can tell!
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
MLH – Absolutely! You’ve been phenomenal to work with and I can’t wait to do it again and be able to come to Venezia, maybe I can paint some of your sunsets also.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
MLH – Yes, I think there need to be more organizations like yours. I love the fact that you’re not into it to make a profit but to support the artists.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
MLH – Very much. Especially Beatrice, she was a pleasure to work with and always super responsive!