Eva Lewis is an artist, born in 1995 in Beaverton, Oregon, raised in Dayton, Ohio for 23 years, she currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts. studying painting as a Boston University MFA painting candidate of 2022. Inspired by her community, Lewis paints primarily women-identifying and non-binary peoples from the Midwest where she grew up. She uses oil paints to convey stories of color and tone. Lewis taught art for five years to K-12 students through a local non-profit art organization and found the influences from the space of the classroom and academia to be very important in how she approached her studies.
The work explores what it means to be amongst a community, without the expectation or pressure that comes from being a woman. This is drawn from personal and societal expectations I feel have been set upon me and encouraged me to explore stories involving my friends and myself not acknowledging said pressures. Through this, I can create different open-ended scenarios happening around the forms that leave the viewer able to insert themselves into the event with their own experiences. The figures find themselves typically in an arcadian landscape or familiar interior experiences. I find these spaces and compositions to be influenced by baroque and renaissance works. Through these elements, I create the stories for viewers to step into and find themselves as a character within a utopia. Recently, I have been exploring how women-identifying and non-binary peoples hold space in the world around them through portraiture.
What does “Gaze” mean to you & how do you connect it to your work?
The past year I have been exploring what it means to be a female painting a female. So often I found myself influenced by baroque and renaissance depictions of women. Although these figures are shown with curves, and in some cases such as the Medici Cycle, women in a position of power, all of the works I was studying were created by men. The question of what it means for me to show myself and my friends in a real nakedness, physically, emotionally, and conceptually, became an exploration for me as a woman. I wanted to give these figures what I felt with them; a sense of contentment and acceptance that I feel those in this community only seldom feel in this society. Gaze to me means the way in which we admire what we are seeing. It has been twisted by the perpetual glare brought upon these people and I seek to reclaim my fondness of these bodies in the arts.
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