Cathy Della Lucia (Caitlin Cunningham)

'Peripheral Decoys'

An exhibition of sculptural work by BC faculty member Cathy Della Lucia on view at Newport gallery

Peripheral Decoys, a sculptural body of work by Boston-based artist Cathy Della Lucia, an assistant professor of studio art at Boston College, is on view through July 27 at the Overlap Gallery in Newport, Rhode Island.  Developed over a two-year period, the work is centered on ideas of modularity, inheritance, leisure, and labor.

The sculptures are created from interlocking units of carved wood, ceramic, and 3D-printed forms juxtaposed with utilitarian items from work and play—such as deep-sea fishing pole mounts, motorcycle repair stands, and gym equipment. Della Lucia, who works predominantly in sculpture, ceramics, and installation, used scrap and excess material sourced from carpenters, potters, and tradespeople based locally and in Korea. 

“To recognize a decoy requires deconstruction—a peeling back of sensory layers to detect misalignment of familiarity,” Della Lucia said. The seven pieces on display draw inspiration from personal experiences and peripheral objects that linger in her subconscious; collectively, they contribute to a network of relationships—formal, conceptual, and utilitarian, exhibition organizers note.

“I hope that viewers find a joyful and curious reconnection with tactility, play, and labor,” Della Lucia said. “I think that seeing sculpture up close in-person can greatly influence the way we know our own bodies and the objects that are in constant interplay with us.”

Della Lucia joined BC’s Art, Art History and Film Department last fall and has taught Introduction to 3D: Sculpture, and Intermediate 3D: Space and Form.

“My experience this past year as a BC faculty member has been nothing but positive,” she said. “The students I have worked with are kind, open-minded, and take pride in their work. I have been impressed with their work ethic and integrity in the studio and their enthusiasm surrounding sculpture. They have tackled bodily sized sculptures on wheels, room-size installations, site-specific performance, and some beautiful, considerate object making—all while balancing jobs, multiple majors and minors, and athletics.

“I am also grateful for the opportunity to work with two excellent students this summer as part of the Undergraduate Research Fellowship: Will Gotanda and Nick Vye,” both Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences rising seniors. “Their assistance in preparing for this show, and an upcoming show in the fall, is invaluable. I look forward to continuing to build out the 3D area alongside the Studio Art program, and am excited to see what is to come,” she added.

photo of sculptures at the gallery

'Peripheral Decoys' installation at the Overlap Gallery in Newport.

Della Lucia's modular sculptures bridge the gap between fragment and whole, according to the Overlap Gallery: “Made up of found, altered, and fabricated forms they display a variety of distinct surfaces that range from an array of smoothly sanded and polished hardwoods and laminated plywood to lustrous and matte ceramic glazes, soft translucent gradients of airbrushed dyes and dense opacities of industrial paints.

“Built through repetitive assemblage and disassemblage, the sculptures reflect on the fragmentation and the subsequent gamification strategies we employ to navigate and focus in everyday life, as well as the concept of sculptural objects as decoys that embody both action and form, and exist simultaneously as imitation and reality.” 

Della Lucia’s work utilizes both found and fabricated form and considers the role of objects, the body, and raw material as systems and vessels that carry, conceal, conduct, and connect, according to her BC faculty website: “She uses modularity as a medium to explore ideas of labor and leisure, (un)belonging, and Asian American identity. Her practice is deeply focused on touch and material sensibility as a method of connecting with Korean traditions of craft and collaboration through the reuse of material and found object excess sourced from local makers and fixers.”

According to Della Lucia’s artist’s statement, her work “engages with themes of
(im)permanence, (un)belonging, and the gamification of the construction of
identity, drawing on my experience as a transracial adoptee,” born in South
Korea and raised in the Metro Detroit area.

Della Lucia’s work has been widely exhibited nationally, and internationally in
Denmark and South Korea, and she has completed residencies at Vermont Studio Center and The Blue House in Dayton, Ohio. She holds a B.A. in studio art at Xavier University and MFA in sculpture from Boston University. 

The Overlap Gallery is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.,
Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment. 

Find more information about Della Lucia, visit