Lorette C. Luzajic's art practice is driven by eclectic curiosity, and by the joy of juxtaposition. Each of her works is assembled from an unlimited assortment of tools, themes, genres, and inspirations. Most of her work begins with a seed, a way in. Something ignites from an interesting contrast- two colours, or a found phrase or image, and she builds the piece intuitively from that starting point.
Occasionally she has a more structured blueprint, for example, a collage may be built around a poem or theme and so the pieces she finds and places have some connection to that. In Lady Lazarus, for example, inspired by Sylvia Plath the poet, all of the disparate symbols, the bones, the bees, are allusions and references to the things she wrote about and her life. The red symbolizes life and death, the themes she returned to over and over.
In Manifest This, a commission for a client who wanted a larger piece that echoed the colours and style of a small original she liked, Luzajic used that palette, and an assortment of collage snippets to create an abstract whole. But up close, you can peel through the layers to excavate endless references in partial words and images that are covered and uncovered. All those pieces have some personal reference to the life and interests of that client. "I see my work as a kind of archeology. I love incongruent and unexpected juxtapositions, the treasures and detritus we might find of civilization in the future. They might be tightly focused, or seemingly unconnected and eclectic, but form an impression and narrative as a whole."
Beauty is always the goal for Luzajic. "When it’s beautiful, it is complete". Her vision of beauty is evidently quite raw. "I see beauty in garbage, in peeling billboards and graffiti, in concrete, as well as in the sea and stars. But that said, despite the urban urgency of my work, I’m a traditionalist in some ways. Art for me has to be about aesthetics. Art that is just a message or political statement is not yet art, it is propaganda or a newspaper story or magazine ad.
"Art for me has to be about aesthetics"
Luzajic combines the old-fashioned elements of art with the unrefined chaos and abstraction or surrealism she loves. Composition, balance, and colour are very important in her work, and so is the longstanding connection of art to poetry, mythology, and religion. All of her works are brimming with these themes under the surface.
In contrast to some of her early works, Luzajic has developed a certain restraint that gives the canvas breathing space, providing the audience with more room to wander through the work.
"Sometimes I overstep the line from beautiful disorder into mud. But I have learned to practice more restraint more often".
Based in Toronto, Luzajic is excited and optimistic about the local art scene. "Toronto’s art scene is deliciously eclectic and unfocused, still finding its way onto the international stage. I believe it will be a major centre. We have accomplished an extraordinary amount in two centuries. We have a stunning ballet history already, for example. And the annual Scotiabank Contact Photography exhibition is one of the largest and most important photography events anywhere. We have luminary gallerists and dealers like Ydessa Hendeles, Jamie Angell, and Devan Patel, each with incredibly different visions and instincts. The Art Gallery of Ontario is a world-class gallery and collection, hosting priceless treasures from all around the world, and from Canada, including a range of traditional and contemporary Indigenous Canadian art."
Luzajic also spends a lot of time as editor of the arts journal The Ekphrastic Review, which is celebrating its five year anniversary this summer. "I’m constantly reading- and writing- poetry inspired by art. I recently released a collection of ekphrastic prose poems called Pretty Time Machine and wasn’t expecting to write more so soon, but am working on a couple of different art-writing projects already.