Self-taught artist Huey Lightbody’s large-scale paintings also double as self-portraits and metaphors for transformation, albeit abstractly. Currently based in Petersburg, Lightbody investigates cycles of life and death, growth and evolution in his work. These cycles coalesce into thick waves of line and color that come into view through unconventional materials such as concrete and spray paint, thick brushwork, and graphic drawings that resemble graffiti. What results is a visual frenzy of rawness and grit that mimics the chaos and addictive desires the artist has struggled to tame throughout his life. Confronting these conditions in his art encourages him, he says, “to surrender in the midst of turbulent water, not resisting but learning to refine the motions of self within the chaos in order to swim.” Lightbody’s paintings, then, are portals of unmaking and remaking. In combining street art, landscape painting, and abstract portraiture, they extend Western traditions of modernism.
Huey Lightbody, "An Ode to Chaos," 2020, mixed media on birch wood panel, 30 x 40 x 2 inches
Huey Lightbody, "Sacral," 2020, mixed media on birch wood panel, 30 x 40 x 2 inches
Huey Lightbody, "Manic," 2022, Mixed media on 300lb pressed paper
A Mourning of Slum, 2022, Mixed media on composite panel, 24 x 24 inches