Mary Hull Webster
Lucia with Herself on a Dark and Stormy Night, 2014
mixed media, archival pigment print with handwork
26 x 38 in.
printed on Awagami paper

Mary Hull Webster’s luminous portraits of the mysterious and seductive Lucia are part of a larger cycle of work, Looking for Lucia, that spans video, web projects, and a host of print and mixed-media manifestations, including prints on silk and handmade Awagami paper. Lucia’s name alone conjures illuminance, suggesting the Latin lux (e.g., Fiat lux: let there be light). Sometimes anthropomorphized as a female figure, images of Lucia as a person are taken from stills of a model videotaped in 1999. The light Webster is looking for, which she describes as an interior state of mind, plays a central role as both medium and metaphor. Her intention is to give form to the eye’s swift perception of light in motion and the simultaneous neurological reflection of a sudden epiphany or breakthrough of consciousness. She invokes the alchemical binary of sun and moon in describing Lucia’s ephemeral glow: “in alchemy,” she says, “solar light is more about the power of daylight clarity and heat; in contrast, Lucia is a lunar and shifting light that rides through darkness in unpredictable ways.” With Lucia as a medium between the physical realm of consensual reality and a world of inspired lunar light, Webster’s prints cross freely between two- and three-dimensional media, incorporating pastel, graphite, and sewn thread alongside collage and other handwork. — Nick Stone