LOVE’S THEME LOOSELY RELATED WORKS BEG QUESTIONS ABOUT SHOW’S TITLE

The Buffalo News

Date: Friday, January 31, 2003
Section: GUSTO
Edition: FINAL
Page: G18

By: BY BRUCE ADAMS – News Contributing Reviewer

Illustration: Ted Bojinoff’s “Graffiti Valentine,” a tiny photograph of a graffiti-painted wall, is hilarious with its various images.

 

REVIEW

WHAT: “What’s Love Got to Do, Got to Do With It,” Western New York Artists Group’s 16th annual Valentine exhibition

WHEN: Through Feb. 14

WHERE: Art Dialogue Gallery, 1 Linwood Ave.

ADMISSION: Free

INFO: 885-2251
“What’s Love Got to Do, Got to Do With It?” is a catchy line from a popular Tina Turner song and also the title of this year’s annual Valentine’s Day exhibition at Art Dialogue Gallery. Upon viewing the sundry collection of paintings, sculptures, photos, collages and drawings assembled for the occasion, viewers might consider the lyrics to be more than just a title. They also pose a darn good question.

The difficulty with mounting a juried theme exhibition is that the juror is at the mercy of the submitting artists who may or may not use the show’s premise to reach beyond the scope of their normal work. Unfortunately in this case, many participants appear to have simply entered work already on hand that kinda-sorta fit the theme. As a result, a more suitable show title might be the next line of the Turner song — “What’s love but a second-hand emotion?”

It’s somewhat of a stretch, for instance, to view an orange and brown neo-constructivist relief assemblage as an expression of love, despite the presence of the word in the title. And does a woven wall-hanging evoke romance simply because it includes pink ribbon?

But, then, several artworks do take Cupid-like aim at the show’s premise and manage to find their target. Two small assemblages by different artists tackle the Valentine’s Day theme from different perspectives.

Susan Webb-Tregay’s piece titled “Us” is comprised of a hollowed book to which has been added an open brass safe door. Inside are postcard fragments, a faded snapshot, a sticker reading “free love” and other slightly schmaltzy mementos. The book’s title, “By Love Possessed,” seems to echo the artist’s own sentiments in what just might be the world’s first funk-art valentine.

Gerald Mead takes a more detached approach with his aptly titled “Rose Icon,” which pays witty homage to the popular bloom. Flowers appear throughout the exhibition, but Mead alone examines their position as a cultural symbol. A clear resin cube forms a base from which a stemlike wire holds a tiny, meticulous double-sided miniature collage of rose images. The deferential tone of the work pleads the case that sometimes a rose is not just a rose.

The ubiquitous valentine heart also makes its inevitable appearance in various forms. Joseph R. Galvin joins mirrored photographic images of multiple yellow and white curvilinear lines — actually road-marking paint on asphalt — to form unexpected interlacing heart patterns.

Ted Bojinoff’s hilarious “Graffiti Valentine” is a tiny photograph of a graffiti-painted wall on which numerous billowing red hearts, a U.S. flag and the Wu Tang Clan symbol mingle with images of rappers, cigarettes, beer and malt liquor logos.

Other noteworthy works include Donald Scheller’s erotically charged photomontages and Diane Menchette’s picture of a rusted shed in a barren landscape ironically titled “Love Shack.”

Edward G. Bisone’s “primitive” painting shows an underwear-clad man and a nude woman holding hands in front of their bed in a disarmingly direct treatment of sexual intimacy. It stands out for both its masterful treatment and its heartfelt simplicity.

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