Copper pieces of faith

William L. Teckmyer III

Art student showcases enameled pieces for masterƒ_™s thesis

As the end of another semester approaches, the usual stress and frustration can be seen on faces across the Kent State campus.

But on the face of Kim Lucci-Elbualy, a look of satisfaction and relief is apparent.

When she decided to return to school in 2003, Lucci-Elbualy, 40, gave up her business as a full-time studio artist in Lewistown, Pa. She handmade household items like flatware, sculptural pieces and jewelry and sold them at art shows across the country.

“It’s taken a lot of sacrifice to come back to school,” she said. But she wasn’t worried about the money because she came back for a deeper purpose.

“It’s not about me; it’s about everybody,” she said.

Lucci-Elbualy said that she felt selfish making artwork just for herself and wanted to create art that spoke to others as well.

“I’ve learned how to develop a language as an artist with metaphors to convey my ideas,” she said.

After a year and a half of toiling with her Master of Fine Arts thesis project, she was ready to present her thesis exhibition.

“When I started working on it, I knew it would have something to do with love, but I wasn’t sure what it would look like,” Lucci-Elbualy said.

It was then that she began playing with forms and materials in the confines of her studio in Van Deusen Hall.

The show, titled FAITH from the inside out, is an installation consisting of three parts: The Body, The Mind and The Spirit. Each part is to be considered in light of the others, Lucci-Elbualy said.

Each has been assembled from pieces of enameled copper that are meant to represent the human eye. They symbolize an awareness of and an awakening to the love that comes from within the spirit, Lucci-Elbualy said.

She has poured countless hours into the building process. The passion and conviction with which she views her work became apparent as tears filled her eyes while she explained the piece.

The Body is designed to resemble a human spinal column — one of the main supports of the body. Lucci-Elbualy said that the body is important because it houses the power that comes from outside the self.

The piece titled The Mind is comprised of half-open eye shapes that resemble a meditative state. It is designed as a portal that one must pass through to get to the final part of the exhibit — The Spirit. This is because it is through the meditative state of the mind that one becomes aware of the spiritual place, Lucci-Elbualy said.

The Spirit consists of three triangular, curtain-like pieces suspended from the ceiling. The eye structures are lit from behind to signify what Lucci-Elbualy called “the love that comes from within a person’s spirit.”

However, she likes to allow viewers the opportunity to interpret the work for themselves because of the value she places on individual experience.

“I don’t like to translate my work too much because I think everybody can have a different take on it,” she said.

The work is primarily to be experienced, and only after the initial experience should the artist’s statement of purpose be read, Lucci-Elbualy said. She worries that if it happens the other way, the art becomes too academic and not experiential enough.

“Art is subjective, is it not?” she said.

The exhibition reception will be held at 8 p.m. Friday in the university’s Sculpture Gallery located on the first floor of the Art Building.

Contact performing arts and entertainment reporter William L. Teckmyer III at [email protected].