Lucía Howell Vargas

Costa Rica , b.1992

Lives and works in San José

Lucía Howell Vargas is a multidisciplinary artist who blends worlds of performing and visual arts. Her work is underscored by an inseparable connection between music and movement. She has an extensive background in dance, having dedicated eleven years of her life to the discipline, collaborating with notable choreographers like Maria Amalia Pendones and Vanessa de la O. She says: “Dance helped me understand my relationship with space and the ambiguity that exists inside and outside."

For Howell Vargas, performance art transcends mere spectacle, exploring the performer’s perspective to create immersive experiences that resonate beyond the boundaries of traditional audience engagement. She interprets her performances by creating paintings, mirror installations and glass sculptures; each piece transforms everyday objects into extraordinary expressions of her inner self.

In her acclaimed series inspired by the performance ‘Fangal (Bog)’, exhibited at Cero Uno in San José in 2022, Howell Vargas donned a striking black costume adorned with tendrils, moving dynamically within the gallery space as spectators encircled her. Through her meticulously choreographed yet intentionally constrained movements, she assumed an otherworldly guise, blurring the boundaries between humanity and the unknown. The accompanying paintings, capturing intimate snapshots of the performance, evoke a surreal, almost alien aesthetic, mirroring Howell Vargas’ transformation into a physical manifestation of her artistic vision.

In another painting series, Howell Vargas integrates mirrors into her paintings, meticulously crafted to reflect her body’s interplay with light and space. Drawing inspiration from the reflections in her own room, she employs a palette of soft blues and greys juxtaposed with vibrant flashes of pink or black, creating a mesmerising interplay of colour and form that invites viewers into a world of introspection and self-discovery.

Howell Vargas is an art director and visual artist in Costa Rica. Her work has been exhibited widely across the country, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design and the French Alliance in San José.

Costa Rican contemporary art. Portrait of artist Lucía Howell Vargas in her home in San José.

Lucía Howell Vargas in her home in San José (Photography by Julio Sequeira)

“The body is matter inside a physical space; it can expand and merge with space.” Howell Vargas