Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Alea Hurst began her journey into drawing and painting eight years ago. She produces two-dimensional works, particularly drawings and paintings, which range from traditional to experimental and mixed media approaches. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia in Athens in 2013. Her work has been exhibited in various places including the University of Georgia, Beep Beep Gallery, and Mason Murer Fine Art’s Fresh Blood. Her work also has been featured in multiple publications and purchased by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. Most recently, one of her pieces is featured in the series 4 bottle labels for Collective Arts Brewing in Ontario, Canada.
Her body of work explores the role of the mask and reverses its purpose. Traditionally, a mask is worn over the face to hide something. This can either be to conceal the wearer’s identity or to cover up unsightly features; however, in her paintings, the mask reveals information instead of hiding it. The masks become representative of the characteristics of the wearer’s soul or personality. Each hints at some inner strength or flaw of the person being depicted, and the traits that were wished to be kept secret are now the focus of the portrait and revealed by the mask. She also draws influence from the fact that throughout the ages the eyes have been called the windows to the soul. Since she is dealing with the characteristics or archetypes of people’s souls, it is for this reason that she always leave the eyes open to the fabric as if the viewer can peer straight into it. They are empty inside because their innermost being is on public display; there is nothing left to hide.