Luba Lukova: Designing Justice at Rogers Center for the Arts, North Andover, Massachusetts
March 14 – April 7, 2019
Rogers Center for the Arts
315 Turnpike Street
North Andover, Massachusetts 01845
Thursday, March 18, 2019
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
IN ART, LESS = MORE
By Daniel Castelaz
Why the images in Luba Lukova’s Designing Justice are so visually appealing: saturated colors draw you in; hard edges clarify the dynamic shapes; and distilled compositions keep the eye locked into the picture plane. And, within her direct, elegantly streamlined images, Lukova has embedded the most essential element of all – a powerful message that gets people thinking.
In a piece like I Have A Dream, Lukova presents an image of vicious dogs attacking a black man, which establishes the core of the basic, symbolic message: black people in America have had a tortured history. Yet looking more closely at the way the image is structured reveals its subtle complexity. The image is composed of black silhouettes against an intense red backdrop. A semi-circle of slavering dogs strain at the taut leashes that barely hold them at bay. White is used as a stark highlight to intensify the viciousness of the dogs’ teeth, while simultaneously delivering the contrasting message of peace. The man in the image – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – is not standing to confront the animals. Rather, he is seated, back straight, with his hand held out palm-up in a gesture of peace. In these tiny but essential details, Lukova has reinforced the non-violent philosophy that was at the core of Dr. King’s life and work, while illuminating the strength of the forces arrayed against him. I Have A Dream is a brilliant embodiment of Lukova’s dedication to social awareness and her embrace of the concept that in art, less = more.
Luba Lukova, I Have a Dream, 2012, Silk-screen
As you unpack the visual elements that are the foundation of each image, the profundity of the artist’s message seeps ever more deeply into your unconscious mind. By the time you look away, you have been reminded on a fundamental level that social issues all across the globe demand to be addressed – and changed – through the commitment of well-intentioned individuals. Lukova’s images help provide the inspiration for all of us to be a force for good in the world.