M3AT is the alias of Lorena Guerra Matteucci, a painter living in Vancouver, WA and participating in the art communities of Portland and Lake Oswego, OR and Vancouver, WA. She paints with acrylic and gouache on custom cut, treated, and framed wood panels.
The artist received an Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design from Brooks College in Long Beach, CA in 2005 and pursued a graphic design career while continuing to paint. In 2014, she decided to put design aside and concentrate on art. In 2017, she began working on her current series, the Infertility Series, based on personal experience with infertility, trying to conceive, loss, grief, and recovery.
Lorena has shown work in various galleries and retail spaces in Los Angeles, CA between 2008 and 2009. In 2009, she help to co-curate and organize IMLA, a group show focusing on the stories of immigrants in Los Angeles.
Between 2014 and the present, Lorena's artwork has been included in various group shows and solo shows in the Portland and Lake Oswego area, as well as shows in Texas, Arizona, California, and New York. Of note, she has worked with Ford Gallery, the Arts Council of Lake Oswego, Chashama in New York, the Bath House Cultural Center in Texas, Mesa Contemporary Arts in Arizona, and ICHRP US (International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines). Lorena is currently represented by Wolff Gallery in Portland, OR.
In July 2018, Lorena debuted the entire 12-piece Infertility Series at Wolff Gallery in a two-month solo show. The show was featured in the Portland Mercury, Oregon Arts Watch, and 1859 Oregon's Magazine. Aside from that, her notable 2018 events will be a solo show at Basil Hallward Gallery at Powell’s, displaying artwork at Vancouver City Hall, a Portland Latinx artist-focused show put on by UNA Gallery and the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, and a womxn-focused group show at Pain Sugar Gallery in Riverside, CA.
Work by Lorena has been published in St. Sucia (Texas) zines, APEP Publications (Maryland), and The Buckman Journal (Portland). The artist has also completed two murals in the Alberta Arts District of Portland. One was a private commission by a homeowner and one was orchestrated through Alberta Art Works.
Alongside her accomplishments, Lorena worked in a co-op gallery managing website and design materials as well as improvement of the gallery space and working the allotted member shifts. She has also volunteered on the Gresham Art Committee, helping to curate and set up shows. Between Fall 2017 and Winter 2018, Lorena taught sponsored acrylic painting classes to the general public.
I chose to take an alias because I wanted to be able to stand apart from my work, to let it reflect myself but also live on its own, free of presupposed gender, race, or identity. I want viewers to approach my work with a clean slate, not knowing who I am at all. I chose the alias “M3AT” because of the varying emotional reactions one has to the idea of a slab of red, raw meat. Some see it as delicious, others disgusting, others have a different, visceral reaction. To me, it is a representation of mortality. We are all pieces of meat and its what we do with our time on this planet that makes us more, until we eventually are again, just meat. I also like to use the alias because I believe in exposing the core, or the meat of a subject. The use of the numeric “3” in the alias relates to my personal affinity for things in threes. Three for me is a number of balance and harmony. It also relates to my (since spurned) Catholic upbringing and the Holy Trinity, an oppressive theme throughout my childhood and young adult years.
I strive to capture the balance between waking and sleeping, spiritual and terrestrial, beauty and horror. I am inspired by nature, dreams, emotions, and the curiously morbid. My work is centered around bold colors, flowing lines, and otherworldly beings. Common themes I seek to explore are cultural boundaries, feminine power and instinct, the great mystery of our creation and self-awareness, and mortality. In early 2017, I began painting with a new outlook to help deal with the depression I experienced after finding out about my infertility. This new style of painting is completely devoid of expectation, planning, and social influence. I wanted to start creating art that I felt truly expressed my inner self. Thus, my plant-centric sentient beings were created.
These beings appear to me as visions while I meditate. They are the embodiment of the spiritual and chemical reactions I feel inside. I believe both in the non-physical and scientific part of our existence, and these creatures reflect that. They are the unseen spirit gods/goddesses behind everything in our world - inside us, working and moving us toward our final destination and beyond. These creatures are what is at the core of everything. Their purposes range from protectors and guides to heralds of doom and death and they can be beautiful and horrific, welcoming and hostile at the same time.
Some of these creatures have parts that look familiar to you, and some don’t. I paint completely from my mind’s eye, not wanting to be too influenced by plants or objects we know already. They are painted to appear to be in constant motion, with awkward petals or parts at different angles. They are constantly shifting and should never be predictable.
My paintings are my outward expression of complex feelings, fears, and dreams (waking and sleeping) as natural, organic creatures that I don’t know exist until I’ve finished the painting. They grow as I paint because I don’t start with a sketch, only a vague idea, and I never make edits. I keep working until they feel complete. By letting them morph as I work, they become portraits of the particular mentality I was in during that time. Just as you can look through a magnifying glass at the very different chemical makeup of different types of tears, I imagine these creatures are microscopic snapshots of my brain or soul or aura at that time.
My goal is to focus inward, to get molecular with my soul. I want to invite the viewer into the landscape of my brain and so they can get a glimpse of what I am feeling. My favorite part about how I work is being truly surprised at the final creation staring back at me when I am done. I turn my thinking brain off and let my visions, feelings, and hands flow.
My latest series, the Infertility Series, features six pieces detailing my own personal experience with infertility, trying to conceive, pregnancy, miscarriage and recovery throughout the years of 2017 and 2018. It is dear to my heart and it chronicles in unbridled joy and pain my very personal journey and growth.
I'm currently open to schedule shows in 2019 and accept proposals for representation.