Lilla E. Szekely is an artist and printmaker who splits her time between the greater Boston area and Providence, Rhode Island where she recently finished her MFA in Printmaking at Rhode Island School of Design. For her undergraduate studies, she majored in fine arts with a minor in art history at Lesley University College of Art and Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her primary interests are in printmaking, papermaking, and painting. Lilla was born in Hungary but her family is from Transylvania. She emigrated to the United States when she was 15 years old. She has been passionate about art making since an early age and has especially found solace in it as a teen emigre student. Her work has been exhibited nationally and explores how nature is a testament to time and to our identities–with their vulnerability and fluidity. She believes the condition of ‘rootlessness’ is common in America, the country of immigrants, more than anywhere else. She seeks to re-tell collective memories as an act of preservation, and a desire to be understood.
My recent work explores the idea of home as your memories which belong only to you. Home is like a mirage to the immigrant. Something to strive towards, never within reach, and more of an illusion than a place. I have been imprinted by the places I have lived in yet disconnected from them as well. I am often situated on the ‘other side’ and as my perspective has learned to shift between the global and the local, between the outsider and insider gaze, I have come to describe this ability as being ‘rootless’. The hyper-awareness of the vulnerability of nature, of its changing and unchanging qualities, often lends itself as the starting point to my work. A specific moment remembered is my matrix, or point of departure, but it is in no way the end. Printmaking allows me to impose some guidelines and use exploratory techniques to search for a conclusion in a sequential manner even when there might not be one. I try to honor nature as a testament to the time and belonging. Material and place are interchangeable in my process and they constitute an index, or trace of time and place. That is one of the reasons why I found the print to be such a fitting medium. The gradual process of making a print is like the process by which we build our memories. As we experience things, our brain collects key elements and stores them.
R o o t l e s s n e s s .