An Art Walk Through Our Home: The Smirking Heart

What’s at the center of the heart?

In this print hanging near our dining table, Debra Hensley-Luczycki answers that question with a smirk, the exhaust of Cupid’s arrow’s flight, and unconnected black tubing.  Keep in mind, this print from the early 1990’s completed when Hensley-Luczycki was a graduate student at Tulsa University, is featuring a smirk way before it was a trendy term.

The arrow must have done some airplane-like flips to show off before exiting out the mouth like a rose held between the teeth.

The arrow’s tip is headed for one of the barriers outlining the heart.  Will it collide?  Escape through a gap?  Or blast through the barrier, pushing it out into the space surrounding the heart?  It’s left up to us to imagine how the heartthrob all plays out.  Three-dimensional rectangular shapes echoing the arrow’s tail make up the barriers, but they seem more decorative than protective.  More like shapes placed on the heart to accentuate the heart shape and its red color we’ve learned to expect.  More like disconnected tubing or macaroni pieces.

Really, the heart is a blue vein color when you open it up and look inside.  Or gangrene from love sickness and the arrow’s strike, which is the same color.  Animated lines head excitedly somewhere, or the blood within these delicate blue-green veins goes nowhere, doubling back.  The heart seems swollen to bursting.

That arrow/airplane’s flight exhaust of loop de loops creates eyes above the mouth, the tubing, our brain disconnected or primed for a connection.  Having eaten way too many cupcakes this Valentine’s Day, I’m in no shape to say.

Frames guard the heart.  The innermost frame is gold painted.  The next frame is painted with an animal print pattern, perhaps some of our wildness.  A sexy purple and red textured frame extends out next, and the outermost frame is like varnished mahogany.  Do we protect or hide the heart with these parts of ourselves?  Invite others in?  They aren’t such solid and separate compartments, the frames’ colors and shapes mixed together on the print just outside the heart’s delineations, some of the shapes themselves heart-like.  If we chipped away here, gold or aqua would be found underneath.  Fool’s gold or a heart of gold?

As a witness to my wedding, I didn’t expect Debra to act as bridesmaid.  Still, she brought me wild flowers she found for a bouquet.  The classic Cadillac she borrowed from her parents delivered us to the courthouse in style and pulled into Sonic afterwards.  She brought wildness, classic style, and joking to the day.  And I see all of those in this art work she gave us.

And a sturdy altar to those parts of us, to what’s illusion, what’s cartoon, what isn’t contained, what’s gaudy.  To a mix of sculpture, print, and painting.  To that, I’ve added a few things: star candlestick, snake pen, grinning cat.



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