So Pretty: My Genetic Miscommunication

So Pretty: My Genetic Miscommunication


Dena Novak

(Los Angeles, California)


My paintings explore my hope and fear of my disintegrating body. Layers of color, gestural marks and forms emerge from a state of raw honesty and hold a lot of emotional tension. They are frenetic paintings that lie at the intersection of abstraction, sculpture and landscape loudly nestled between reality and dream. The marks and forms created by the layering of oil paint are specific to my body’s abilities. My motion is often limited through the right side of my frame, in my neck and in my hands due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. For this reason, using my fleeting abilities to create a body of material on canvas adds another layer of meaning to my work. I push at the boundaries of oil paint while I push the boundaries of my body’s physical capabilities. Each painting becomes an act of reflection on my body’s mortality while working intuitively with textural layers that turn the canvas into a vessel. The vessel is me. I tell the story of my hope and fear of losing more of me.