Vera Scekic lives and works in Racine, Wisconsin. She has exhibited her paintings, drawings and installations at art centers, galleries and museums throughout the U.S. Recent solo and small group exhibitions include: Super Natural (Octagon Center, Ames, IA), Art Reflects Science (Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, IL), Twilight (Fitton Center, Hamilton, OH), Naturally Unnatural (Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Birmingham, MI) and Polymorphous Microtecture (Beverly Arts Center, Chicago, IL.) Scekic is a founding member of ArtRoot, a grassroots initiative to revitalize the city of Racine by building arts infrastructure, fostering connections and facilitating collaborations among local creatives. Scekic is also the co-founder and director of OS Projects, a contemporary art gallery showcasing visual artists who live and work in the Chicago-Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee urban corridor.
My art practice originates from an abiding interest in the life sciences and an ethos that combines chance occurrences with a systematic approach. It is an analog response to recent developments (such as CRISPR) that have enabled alterations to mammalian genomes and raised profound questions about human identity. Adopting the cell—life’s building block—as metaphor and armature, I treat paint as if it were an organism, exploring its material, chromatic and formal properties through a biological lens.
I generate membranes of paint by mixing it with various thinning agents and pouring the viscous fluid on polyester and ceramic substrates. When dry, the membranes are peeled, cut, spliced, abraded, layered and adhered to wood and canvas, producing naturally unnatural hybrid forms that merge the manufactured and organic.
The process of creating the paint skins is repeated—frequently on top of existing pours—to mimic the cycle of growth, repair and degeneration. Gravity is the sole constant in the production process, underscoring the centrality of entropy and the tension inherent in a living system’s efforts to keep it at bay. Paint skins from earlier (disassembled) works are also recycled and integrated into new cells. Framing the tattered and misshapen cells within “perfect” circles and rectangles magnifies the relationship between precision and irregularity, which animates all my projects.
The methodology guiding each work is time-intensive and multi-step while inviting extended inquiry into the nature of paint. The surface is a record of my negotiations between opacity and translucency, flatness and dimensionality, expansion and containment, chance and control. At the project’s core lies my argument: that painting remains relevant in a digital era, and its ability to reflect essential questions about human experience and identity endures.