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Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008

The Truth About Love

Art Review

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It’s an age-old question: What is love? The love we feel for friends, partners or spouses often determines what we consider necessary truths to create fulfilling lives. This truth exists differently for each of the artists in the exhibit “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Relationships and Love.” Sponsored by African-American Artists Beginning to Educate Americans about African-American Art, this national juried exhibition at the Walker’s Point Center for the Arts explores the intricacies of love with acute and perceptive insight.

Nineteen artists escape the trite to present thought-provoking observations on the nature of relationships through collage, fiber, photography, painting and sculpture. Each piece of art presents the theme with exceptional skill; several are quite striking, especially the sculptures.

George Ray McCormick Sr., an award-winning artist from Milwaukee, presents Adam and Eve Series: Cupid Speaks, a 3-foot-tall piece that uses painted and carved wood, found objects, welded metal and wood-burning. This fascinating creation combines the appeal of folk art with the imagination inherent in Picasso’s largest found-art sculptures, and challenges our notions of Cupid’s true intent.

Michael P. Nolte, a first-time exhibitor, presents the whimsical Courtship, a cast-steel piece with bronze and wood that remembers the whirlwind of sailing through the first stages of love. The sculptural artwork captures this flight of fancy and serves as a monumental tribute to an exhilarating aspect of relationships. Two tiny figures float atop a metal spiral that sits on a stylized shape of a ship.

In contrast, the mixed-media assemblage Dada Barbie, by Michael Flanagan, reinvents the iconic doll to create a miniature image of misunderstood, fairy-tale love. The African-inspired black-and-white quilt titled Looking at Both Sides demonstrates the technical expertise of Sharon Kerry-Harlan, whose work was also exhibited at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. The yin-yang, positive-negative space and twin images in stitched fabric suggest looking at life and relationships from several viewpoints.
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