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Photo coutesy of Maria Leibana
Photo coutesy of Maria Leibana

Sculptures of lopsided three tiered cakes the color of a Lisa Frank dream with sunken in tops will be part of a new art exhibit opening in Long Island City on Nov. 1.

Queens artist Maria Liebana’s first solo exhibit, ‘¿Tres Marias: Donde se Fue mi Felicidad?’ or ‘ Three Marys: Where did my happiness go?’ will be open to the public from 6 to 9 p.m at Local Project Art Space located at 11-27 44th Road.

A relatively new artist, Liebana’s past work has focused on examining conventional societal standards of beauty and worth. This time Liebana has chosen to be personal and show how those conventions impact her happiness and self-worth.  The title of the exhibit comes from name of the three stars that make up the Constallatin Orion’s Belt in Spanish. Liebana is half-Colombian and half-Peruvian and a first generation American.

“It’s ok to be imperfect,” said Liebana. “But I contradict myself and wish and want to be perfect.”

Photo courtesy of Maria Leibana

All of her sculptures are kitschy in color and style with layers of mass-produced plastic materials on top of them. Her pieces—slightly resembling lumpy elementary school ceramic projects—have a nostalgic charm to them. Ironic since Liebana is also a K-3 art teacher at Avenues: The World School in Manhattan. In the exhibit there are three large scale pieces, a series of cakes and a series of self-portraits.

“People see them and think they are happy but they come from a dark place,” said Liebana. Some of the self-portrait sculptures depict Liebana in not so flattering poses. “Me being lazy is not a beautiful sight,” she said. At least three of them are of Liebana lying down, staring at her phone, looking at image after image of things, people and places more beautiful and more desired than herself. The exhibit explores the contradiction of being an empty consumer in a patriarchal society.

“I don’t know if I am depressed but I am always feeling like something is missing,” said Liebana.

On Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. there will be an artist talk about the exhibit at Local Project Art Space.

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