Although located approximately in the middle of the Making Waves exhibition—which is on view until March 31, 2019—the photograph Juno Lucia is an explosion of color that catches your eye from the moment you step into the gallery. In it, a woman crouches down in the turquoise-tinted water, grasping at a light orb that’s tucked into an aquatic floral nest.
The photo comes from California-based artist Suda House’s Aqueous Myths series, which is inspired by her experiences as a rough-water swimmer. (She came in first place in her age group in the 1983 Waikiki Roughwater Swim.)
The images, like this one, were created by photographing a model in a homemade plastic pool constructed by the artist on the floor of her studio, assistant curator of contemporary art Katherine Love says. The model is surrounded by items from a San Diego prop shop, like artificial plants, fish, cellophane and of course, glitter.
“House was initially interested in representing how she felt while swimming, surrounded by the vast ocean, accompanied only by unseen sea creatures and one’s imagination,” Love continues.
Her later works would not only represent the location of a personal experience, but a primal, feminine symbol. House’s titles are based on powerful women in mythology. Juno Lucia deries from the Roman goddess Juno and the Catholic Saint Lucie—bringer of light and goddess of childbirth.
Another work in the exhibition, Salome, is named after the biblical character whose dance of the seven veils (here, seven sea anemones) led to the beheading of John the Baptist—and whose name has become a signifier of female seduction.
Suda House (American, born 1951)
Juno Lucia, 1985
Gift of Suda House, 2014
Copyright Suda House