Even though Valentine’s Day has past, love never enters onto the scene at an inappropriate time. If anything, the current show at Mayson Gallery is about trying something new without leaving the comforts of that which is already familiar; it’s like trying a new restaurant with someone you love, or going to a country you’ve never been to, but one in which you speak the language. The ambitious exhibition eases its viewer in with a collection of provocative Picasso etchings dated from 1968. Like the gallery notes:
“In 1968, near the end of his life, Picasso made 347 etchings that show his interest in television and film, wrestling, and the female nude. Some of the prints refer to old Celestina, the cunning marriage arranger featured in Fernando de Rojas’s play. Others investigate the aging process, voyeurism, the orientalized setting of the harem, and explicit lovemaking as the Pope looks on. When the etchings were exhibited in Paris, and later Chicago, there was heated controversy on their status as pornography.”
The work of Monica Ramos is characteristically busy, but in such an effortless and logical way that her works feel more like completed puzzles than they do crowded parties. In “Naked Dance Party” (1 and 2) the lack of clarity as to where one woman ends and another begins makes its positioning amidst Picasso’s “Femme au Lit avec Visiteurs en Costume du XVII Siecle” (1971) an effortless transition from one naked party to the next. Ana Garces Kiley’s “Entre el Aliento y Saliva (X)” (2007) is an acrylic on voile piece hanging at the back of the gallery faced toward the entrance like the head of a table presiding over an evening. Picasso and Monica Ramos are playing with their food on one end, while Miki Lee stays cool, collected, and concentric in “A Poet’s Dream” on the other. The titles of Miki Lee’s pieces, alluding to “personal narrative[s] to otherwise non-objective arrangements,” also condition the group show as a whole, the cohesiveness of which is cultivated through non-objectifiable dreamscapes made coherent through images of concrete human relation and feeling.
Works from thirteen artists, Picasso included, are on view now at Mayson Gallery. “Love is in the Air” is a dynamic collection with pieces carefully selected to add to the collection’s purposivity of joy and lightness. Paintings by Susan Block feel like an embodiment of the entire collection; the mixed media collages are complex and sensual, real and non-objectifiable. The concrete flows into the abstract and vice versa; paint flows into pen flows into sculpture. Such is the nature of love and levity, to abstract from different mediums and minds that which unites them all.
“Love is in the Air” continues at Mayson Gallery through March 18, 2014. Mayson Gallery is located at 254 Broome Street, between Ludlow and Orchard. For more information and gallery hours, visit www.maysongallery.com.
Images courtesy of http://www.phillips.com/Xigen/lotimg/Pablo-Picasso/UK000110/13/605/550/false/false/false, http://dizbe.com/uploads/image/base_file/1286/Ramos-NakedDanceParty.jpg, and http://www.maysongallery.com/uploads/9/5/4/1/9541369/5653438_orig.jpg