ALEA HURST

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Alea Hurst began her journey into drawing and painting in high school. She produces two-dimensional works, particularly drawings and paintings, which range from traditional to experimental and mixed media approaches. Her work has been exhibited various places including the University of Georgia, Beep Beep Gallery, and Mason Murer Fine Art’s Fresh Blood. Her work also has been featured in multiple publications and purchased by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Most recently one of her pieces is featured in the series 4 bottle labels for Collective Arts Brewing in Ontario, Canada. Her current work focuses on the roles of masks and reversing those roles to comment on the evolution of society.

"Foremost in my work, I am experimenting with painting in a new way by prepping and priming fabric for oil painting. I am attracted to pattern in my work and picking the fabric specifically for each painting becomes part of my creative process. The fabric also plays another key role; I let the fabric show through in unexpected areas. Sometimes it is left alone, others it has been glazed over to form the clothes themselves. This creates an illusion often making it difficult to tell what is actually painted and what is not. This body of work explores the role of the mask and reverses its purpose. Traditionally, a mask is worn over the face to hide something. This can either be to conceal the wearer's identity or to cover up unsightly features; however, in my paintings, the mask reveals information instead of hiding it. The masks become representative of the characteristics of the wearer's soul or personality. Each hints at some inner strength or flaw of the person being depicted, and the traits that were wished to be kept secret are now the focus of the portrait and revealed by the mask. I also draw influence from the fact that throughout the ages the eyes have been called the windows to the soul. Since I am dealing with the characteristics or archetypes of people's souls, it is for this reason I always leave the eyes open to the fabric as if the viewer can peer straight into it. They are empty inside because their innermost being is on public display; there is nothing left to hide."