“I want people who visit to be hopeful for their daughters,” said Newark artist Lina Moaney, whose solo show of oil paintings, “The World is Yours,” opened May 4 at the Newark Arts Alliance.
The Lithuania-born Moaney, who has lived in the region for two decades, describes the show she will mount as “a series of beautiful ladies” rendered in “my style of painting, classical realism.”
Classical realism, as the name suggests, depicts subjects just as they seem and in ways artists have portrayed them since Classical times.
“I don’t need to embellish what’s already beautiful,” Moaney said. “The challenge for me lies in capturing that beauty.”
Moaney drew inspiration for her show from the #MeToo movement.
“I was physically abused by a boyfriend,” she said, “and I support #MeToo and the whole women’s empowerment movement. I asked myself one night, how can I take part in it? And the answer came, ‘I’m an artist—I can do something with my art.’”
The five young women whose portraits appear in “The World is Yours” range in age from 1 to 16.
“I want visitors to see how strong these young ladies are and, because they’re growing up in an environment that is suddenly safer for women, how they’re ready to survive anything that may come their way,” Moaney said.
Moaney’s models, painted from photos she took, are all residents of Newark. They include friends, neighbors, and the artist’s own daughter.
“I wanted to paint the youngest generation of girls because I want others to look at their future. I want others to see and feel the girls’ fresh minds and energy,” Moaney said. “They aren’t quite experienced with the way the world can be, so they’re all still eager. They’re telling you, ‘I’m going to be this; I’m going to be that; I’ll let you know who I’m going to be.’ They’re all ready to do something new. They also all share a wish for a better tomorrow. Our world right now seems to be full of anger and collapsing in on itself, until you consider all the love and hope there is.”
Moaney has painted portraits for over 10 years.
“I started because I wanted to paint portraits of my own children,” she said.
She has stuck to portrait painting because the challenge is never-ending, and has developed an unusual technique.
“I love portraiture, getting the face exactly right and capturing that twinkle in the eye,” Moaney said. “I know a lot of artists who will only paint the eyes last, but I start with them. I like to start with the eyes because they’re the most interesting part of any face and when I see them painted on the canvas, I feel I can say, ‘Yes, that’s the person.’”
Moaney paints her models from photos, because portraits require “a thousand hours of just sitting and looking at that person to get her right.”
The five paintings in “The World is Yours” may not be the most commercial, but they’re passion-projects for Moaney. She showed them recently to a male friend who was skeptical of the artist’s “women’s project.”
“He was, like, ‘Women’s empowerment, really?’ until he saw the paintings and put everything together,” Moaney said. “He was totally thrown off.
“This is not what I thought it was going to be,” he said. “This shows the women in charge.”
“The World is Yours” a solo show of Oil Paintings by Lina Moaney at the Newark Arts Alliance runs through May 28 with a indoor/outdoor reception on Friday, May 14, from 5 to 7 p.m.
The Newark Arts Alliance is located in the Market East Plaza at 276 E. Main St. For more information please visit the website at: www.newarkartsalliance.org or call 302-266-7266.
Robert Frances James is a local artist and a Newark Arts Alliance member.