There’s only one place you can see the largest artwork by up-and-comer Lucia Hierro. The Dominican-American artist created the colorful collage that stretches between NorthCourt and the north exit next to Kona Grill at NorthPark. Kitchen Still Life with Yoryi Morel, 2019, was commissioned as part of the center’s Pop Up Project art initiative.
“The length was challenging compositionally, but it was fun to play with color and scale,” says Hierro, who lives in New York and has exhibited in Dallas at Sean Horton Presents.
Like all of her work, Kitchen Still Life with Yoryi Morel features iconography that is personal to her.
It was inspired by various still-life antecedents, including the work of American Pop artist Tom Wesselmann, Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin, Puerto Rican Impressionist Francisco Oller, and other Caribbean artists.
“I had an image file with a few objects that resonated with me, color and content-wise,” she explains. “I tend to play with the composition till it feels like it couldn’t have existed any other way.”
Kitchen Still Life with Yoryi Morel combines giant images of kitchen staples like avocados, lemons, and bell peppers with a Dominican ceramic folk art doll and a partial print of a landscape by Dominican artist Yoryi Morel.
“As a Dominican American New Yorker, I grew up traveling back and forth between the two islands and often saw copies of [Morel’s] works hanging in people’s homes,” she says. “I included it because I often think of the devaluation of important artistic achievements of Caribbean artists [as derivative of European art]…It’s nice to think of his work alongside other modern works of art at NorthPark.”
The mural continues her Bogedon series styled after by Spanish still life paintings depicting groceries and everyday items. Bogedon translates as still life, pantry, and cheap eatery.
Hierro became fascinated with still life while studying Dutch art history.
“Many of the objects found in those works of art coincided with conquests, violence, and oppression,” she notes. “They were, of course, presented as portraits of a moment in time—things as they are/were. Pop still-lifes, like those of Wesselmann, riffed on those traditions to speak to the politics of the time. Today, we live in the globalized market that resulted from those earlier historical moments. I’m constantly reminded through the making of my work that we live with ‘essential’ objects that implicate us in their production.”
Hierro studied color theory and employs hues to move the eye around the image and to link various parts. The brilliant greens, turquoise, cobalt, and yellows recall the vivid palettes of Caribbean homes, she points out.
Hierro feels NorthPark is an interesting context for her work, which often references brands, consumerism, and social economic strata.
“It made sense,” she says. “I felt it worked conceptually with my practice. It didn’t take long to convince me to do it.”