Zara Monet Feeney’s exhibition, ‘Pause,’ plays with extreme exposure and color


Zara Monet Feeney’s art pieces boldly hang in the art gallery, decorating the walls with their eccentric colors and lavish designs. Photo credit: Shariliz Poveda

By Shariliz Poveda

Zara Monet Feeney is a contemporary artist who mixes themes of her performance background and some knowledge of photography to create oil paintings that seduce the viewer.

Her exhibition, “Pause,” is a series of oil paintings that depict figures in lavish designs with extreme levels of saturation and exposure.

The series is currently on display at the Moorpark College Art Gallery in the Administration building.

Pause, Zara Monet Feeney's exhibition, hangs in the Administration building. The works showcase detailed paintings dealing with realism. Photo credit: Shariliz Poveda

During her Feb. 7 artist talk, she described her artwork in detail and what inspires her.

Having a dancing background under her belt, Feeney incorporates ideas of the stage into her artwork.

“I like the idea that as spectators, we go to see something that’s fabricated and choose to be in disbelief,” Feeney said. “We withhold the fact that it’s fake and choose to believe it.”

Pulling inspiration from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, her figures are depicted in costumes showcasing jewels and extreme luxury. She commented on the unnatural postures and sickening wealth that the portraits of this period showed.

“I know it’s fake, but I’m seduced by it anyway,” Feeney said. “[It] looks like they are putting on an act.”

The paintings for her exhibition play on these very ideas. She works to layer paint on the canvas until her figures look like candy. She mixes in bright neon colors and makes her figures look almost computerized.

Students observe and study artworks at Zara Monet Feeney's "Pause" exhibit. Photo credit: Alec Kamburov

Moorpark College student Marisa Zaremba, 23, who is currently taking some art classes, talked about the impact the exhibit and artist talk had on her.

“I was intrigued by [Feeney’s work],” she said. “It was inspiring, [I’m] going to try out some of the techniques she mentioned.”

Moorpark College students observe some of the art created by Zara Monet Feeney. Photo credit: Alec Kamburov

Erika Lizee, the Art Faculty Director of the Moorpark College Art Gallery, spoke a little on the exhibition and why she asked Feeney to come to speak.

“I try to get people with a range of materials,” Lizee said. “Oxnard and Ventura pull from Ventura County, [so] I [like to] pull from the LA community.”

Feeney is Ventura-based but works in LA County. She uses the mixed medium in her work and uses photography for inspiration in her art process.

The mixed media allows Feeney to create a surreal aspect in her paintings. She loves to question the idea of why the artificial draws the reader in so much.

“Why do you still wanna look at it even though [you know] it’s fake,” Feeney asked.

Feeney studied art at UCLA and Laguna College of Art and Design. She is now teaching two art classes at Moorpark College.

Her exhibition, “Pause,” will be displayed at the Moorpark College Art Gallery until Feb. 25.