Zära Monet Feeney is an exceptional talent. With a background in classical technique and deep art historical foundations, Feeney has a taste for optical effects and both narrative and sculptural drama. She appropriates imagery from the canonical European past, reconfiguring and infiltrating it with an exuberant queer feminism and contemporary political conscience. Each work contains multitudes of layered spaces, and increasingly this extends to occupying physical space as it literally unfurls off the wall. The idea is to ground a revolutionary future within art history’s ambitions, to be mindfully engaged with what is being overthrown in her operatic visions.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
ZÄRA MONET FEENEY: I grew up in a creative family and art was always around me. I was fortunate to have an immensely talented mother who taught me advanced art techniques even when I was quite young. Turning my lifelong passion into a job seemed like the natural career trajectory.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
Aesthetically my work is about optical illusion, color theory and playing with spatial depth, both conceptually and through site specific installation. Thematically, I focus on queer identity, feminism, mental health and the politically charged dynamic of the oppressor versus the oppressed.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
Besides art I am fascinated with science. I would love to study Quantum Mechanics or Astrophysics.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I went to UCLA for my Bachelor’s and Laguna College of Art and Design for my Master’s. UCLA formulated my knowledge of art theory, alternative art processes and experimental, cross disciplinary media. LCAD is an atelier style school where I learned very technical, old master style painting. I am grateful to have knowledge of both types of art making.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
L.A. has always felt like home to me. It is a city rich with artists in all different fields, where collaborative creative projects are abundant and frequent. I think it is one of the foremost art cities in the world, and I am thrilled to be a part of it. I also love “traveling around the world” within Los Angeles, since there are hundreds of different neighborhoods vibrant in multiculturalism, immigrant communities and diverse demographics.
When was your first show?
My first solo show was 10 years ago, when I was 23. It was with CES Contemporary Gallery in Laguna Beach.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show?
My current solo exhibition is at the Museum of Art and History: CEDAR in Lancaster. It is called Royal Disillusion and showcases a selection of highly detailed paintings as well as large scale site-specific installations. It is up until June 27, free and open to the public by appointment.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
Julie Mehretu. It would be an honor to show with a queer, feminist, large scale painter.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
When I paint, I usually listen to instrumental hip hop or dubstep; upbeat enough to keep up my energy but no lyrics to distract.