By LAURA RODRIGUEZ
A girl with porcelain skin and crimson red lips stares back at me with eyes wide open as she swallows a mouse’s tail. She holds a blood-stained knife and a fork. White mice crawl in her hair, and a white cat rests on her lap. The cat eyes mimic the porcelain beauty’s expression, as he swallows another mouse. I want to look away but I can’t. Disturbing and enchanting at once, this is what it feels like to observe one of Lena Viddo’s paintings.
The New York based artist began painting at a young age and many of her drawings ended up on the walls of her childhood home. Her passion for art only grew. “I spent endless hours at the school library drawing animals from nature and wildlife books,” Lena Viddo said.
Viddo describes her artwork as “allegorical social critiques of modern life and culture.” Most of her paintings deal with the theme of decadence, the treachery of beauty, and nature’s cruel indifference toward all of her creatures. However, in the artist’s most recent series, Earthly Delights & Rapturous Imaginings, she introduced the theme of “the female experience and the plight of troubled adolescents negotiating a modern, fractured world.” This subject is especially close to the artist’s heart, as a mother who is trying to raise eight children in a blended family. The artwork represents the discomfort she feels towards mainstream popular culture and the current state of the world, “What we are doing to the environment, how media affects and infiltrates all corners of our lives, the materialistic approach to living, how frivolous things have become, the lack of sincerity, the fascination and quest for fame, are all preoccupations of mine.”
All of Viddo’s paintings have been inspired by life events, relationships and everyday life concerns. One of her most recent paintings, Untitled, was inspired by Hurricane Sandy and her own environmental concerns. Another one of her paintings, Ophelia, was born after a trip to the Black Rock Desert. The piece alludes to one of the most iconic characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and it represents the troubles that adolescents deal with in today’s world.
The contrast between tragedy and beauty, beasts and vixens, man and nature, and pop culture and environmental crisis all collide in Lena Viddo’s canvas, to disturb and comfort our senses.
For more information, visit: lenaviddo.com