Lara Plecas

In my work, I explore the connection between human emotion and our environment. We have a deep personal connection with the places where we visit and live, as well as, the experiences that may have endured there.

21 December 2010

Phoenix Egotists article

Territorial Nature - Lara Plecas

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On November 19th, Lara Plecas opens her exhibition, “Territorial Nature,” at Eye Lounge, starting at 6 pm. According to Plecas, her encaustic works “explore the connection between people and their environment . . . The problems of the past continue to trickle down through time; often repeating themselves; whereas animals learn to adapt.” Take in some luscious artworks, and enjoy some special musical performances by Snow Songs, Project, and Monophonic Hillside. Music gets started at 9 pm.

Interview and artwork preview, after the jump.

What was your motivation behind your current exhibition?

History . . . I find it fascinating to rediscover the past, how man has struggled and shaped our future. I am really interested in the lives and struggles of the native peoples of the United States. We have a dynamic and often tragic history here in America. The native people had to fight and often surrender their land to new settlers that had immigrated to the United States. I have a very diverse background, and my ancestors' struggles are of great interest to me.

How does the medium you work with affect your subject matter?

The subject matter has a life of its own, it is an idea or feeling really . . . The medium is just one way to convey these ideas in a visual context.
Roots: Lara PlecasRoots: Lara Plecas
What do you feel makes you stand out?

I am one of the few artists around that has chosen to work in encaustic, which is a wax- and resin-based medium. It is applied while it is warm and in a fluid state, and presents more of a challenge when working in the desert climate. I am grateful that I haven't encountered any real issues with shipping or working during the summers here, but I admit it was intimidating when I was first starting out.
Northern MigrationNorthern Migration
I am a working artist, and I devote much of my free time to painting. I have a day job that I work at five days a week that is very flexible. I can usually be found at my studio working evenings after work and on my days off. I have often pondered working full time as an artist, but it isn't easy. I have been reluctant to give up the security of health insurance and 401k that my job offers. It may take me longer to accomplish my own goals with painting, but I am constantly growing as an artist and serious about my intentions.

How does the space in which you create influence your paintings?

I can see a huge influence that living in Arizona has on my work. The colors are soft and subtle, and I am continuously drawn back to the horizon.
The Artist's StudioThe Artist's Studio
Are you a Phoenix native?

I was born and raised in a small town in Kankakee, Illinois. I moved out here the summer of 1996 to go to college at A.S.U., and never left . . .

Who are your cultural influences?

I am influenced by so many things, people, places . . . I think I am always gathering inspiration throughout my life. I have to say that the places I have visited have left a strong impression: Espana, Australia, Costa Rica. I am a huge sucker for an open road in the countryside . . .
Artists that have strongly made an impact on me would be: Egon Schiele, Goya, Agnes Martin, Andy Goldsworthy, Vincent Van Gogh, Odd Nerdrom & Tony Scherman.

Ed. Note: Want to know how to create encaustic art? Workshop details to follow.

Images courtesy and copyright of Lara Plecas.


As urban renewal takes over downtown Phoenix and its art galleries, mixed-media artist Lara Plecas (formerly Kupcikevicius) brings a little bit of nature and history into eye lounge with her new show “Territorial Nature.”

This is the first solo show at the collective gallery for Plecas, who says she is “very interested in exploring the cultural heritage of societies and the struggles that people have endured.” Plecas created ten encaustic paintings using the beeswax-and-resin-based medium. Not only are the subjects inspired by nature, but the natural world is also incorporated into the paintings themselves since she framed all works with reclaimed wood.

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While the show might be heavy on history, she relates her work to today’s issues. “The series is a reflection of how man relates to his environment and assumes ownership of space,” says Plecas. “It is very relevant with the current issues of immigration, especially living in a bordering state.”

Fri., Nov. 19, 6-9 p.m., 2010

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