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Embodied Narratives: A Glimpse into RaVae Luckhart's Work in the Cross-Border Exhibition

ArtSpring, in collaboration with Salt Spring Arts and SJIMA, is exhibiting a collection of work by San Juan Islands artists from April 21st through May 24th, at the ArtSpring Gallery, Salt Spring Island, BC, in the first of two cross-border exhibitions. The second installment will feature Southern Gulf Island artists at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, September 22nd - December 4th, 2023.

This blog series explores the work of the San Juan Island artists currently exhibiting in the first of these cross-border exhibitions.



a painting of the inside of a ribcage of a deer, with the artist to the right working on the painting.
Artist RaVae Luckhart

Sensing my way with an inner eye, I explore the forms to expose the universal mystery through metaphor and image to reveal the stories which communicate what is generally visible and often inexpressible. Touching on the divine, stories invite a kind of vision, giving form even to the invisible, clothing the metaphors, and throwing color into the shadows. My work speaks of love, terror, grief, relationships, conflict, faith, and redemption. Ultimately, I am expressing the human condition. Objects such as flesh and bone assume cultural and spiritual significance reflecting values and beliefs. Attempting to unearth the mystery, I represent the story with the mark, the color, and the composition with deer as the metaphor. It is then, when I merge with the painting, that I understand what I am about. The result is often open-ended ambiguity, mysteriously inviting room for the viewer’s interpretation.

“This work is not about a deer on a hook.” RaVae Luckhart

Mirror Mirror, 2017 – 2021

Mixed Media on Rives BFK

52″ x 36″

White Tails in Sunset, 2017 – 2021

Oil on canvas

48″ x 48″

Night Dance, 2017 – 2021

Mixed Media on Rives BFK

42″ x 30″



RaVae Luckhart is an esteemed visual artist, known for her diverse achievements in painting and printmaking, as well as her significant impact in art education. Her artwork encompasses an impressive spectrum from detailed fine art prints to expansive murals.

RaVae's impact in academia is evidenced by her founding of the Art Program at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where she dedicated 16 years as a full professor. In 1987, her pioneering efforts led to the establishment of the university's inaugural Fine Art Gallery, broadening the artistic exposure of both the academic community and the general public.

Drawing on the spirit of freedom embodied by nearby Mt Rushmore, the gallery showcased a rich array of international works, including segments from the original Berlin Wall, paintings from Yugoslavia, and Navajo rugs, among others. As a master printer, RaVae runs L ‘Atelier du Papier, a bespoke printmaking studio, producing etchings, engravings, and lithographs for herself and on commission.

RaVae's creativity extends to the Pacific Northwest, where she founded L’Atelier du Papier Ouest, a secondary studio/home on San Juan Island. She continues to develop her work across both locations, resulting in cohesive art series that she shares through exhibitions. Her contribution extends beyond creating art: RaVae is a founding member and key influence in shaping the exhibitions at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art.

A recipient of a BFA in Painting from the University of Illinois and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Arizona, RaVae has been acknowledged with a Fulbright Teaching Award. Her exhibitions, both solo and group, are a testament to her evolving artistry. RaVae has been widely recognized for her significant contributions to the art world, with honors including the Virginia Simpson Award for Community Service, the Rushmore Award from the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, and the Artists’ Individual Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the South Dakota Arts Council.

ArtSpring Symposium: Archipelago ⏤ Artist Panel 2

Experience firsthand the insightful dialogues of our Archipelago artist panels. This video captures a lively discussion among artists from the San Juan and Southern Gulf Islands, including featured artist RaVae Luckhart. Watch them share their creative processes, environmental influences, and community roles within the unique context of the Salish Sea. Recorded at ArtSpring, this is the second of two riveting panel discussions.

Island Artist Scenes: RaVae Luckhart

In the Spring of 2021, amidst the challenging landscape of COVID-19, the San Juan Community Theatre and SJIMA organizations found a unique opportunity to collaborate and produce a series of mini-documentaries highlighting local artists.

Explore Luckhart's work on her website by clicking here.


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