Sex and Intimacy. Being that I am a female it is needless to say that these two words stir up more emotion in my gut than any of the infamous 4 letter ones. They are two of the most feared and desired experiences, and provoke intimidatingly strong emotions, making them the perfect candidate for artists and authors to manipulate and play with.
Sarah Kurz’s show (which unfortunately already ended) at Allegra LaViola Gallery titled “Made for Love” explored this explicitly. Most of the works were paintings of women, beautiful works where warm colors and a realistic hand created a sense of intimacy between the viewer and the subject. Some of the paintings were more traditional face portraits, where others used cropped body parts or covered faces to show the subject from another perspective.
|Sarah Kurz: "Tight Fit"|
“Tight Fit” was the first of her works that caught my attention. The horizontal perspective reminded me of post-coital bed sessions with my new partner looking slightly disheveled yet inarguably beautiful. Kurz puts you in an intimate situation with a stranger, a beautiful red-head who has a telling look in her eyes.
This is without a doubt one of Kurz’s strongest skills and definitely one of the reasons I felt myself falling in love with each of the girls I slept with while walking through Allegra LaViola: the eyes she creates are amazing. There are about 12 dozen clichés about eyes and the soul and I will allow the reader to put whichever one they would like to here. The point is that Kurz captures emotion in the eyes of her subjects so well that the viewer almost forgets that there is even a third omnipresent person in this bed, too: the artist.
|Sarah Kurz: "Don't you Think you Should?"|
The second image where Kurz’s eyes caught me was in “Don’t you Think you Should?” If the title didn’t make your mind scream sex, the image does. Brown locks sprawl out on white sheets while a coy brunette peaks her eyes out at me. The majority of her face is hidden behind a crumpled sheet, but her eyes exude warmth among the cool blue-tinted colors of the rest of the work. In answer to the question posed into the title: yes, I think I should.
|Sarah Kurz: "I've Done It Before"|
“I’ve Done It Before” is one of the images where Kurz doesn’t paint the face at all. Hair cascading down the back of a nude woman who pulls on her panty-hose (or off? For some reason in my narrative, the subject and I were already naked. She’s getting dressed now.). Despite lacking a visual connection with the face of the subject, there is still a strong connection between the subject and I. On the scale of love and lust, however, this seems to sit closer to the lust end then the soft, intimate eyes of “Tight Fit”.
Other than these beautiful, sex-exuding portraits (including one painting of a set of somehow cherubic breasts —in a totally natural non-pornographic way), there were a few scenic portraits done as well. You weren’t naked in bed, but you still got that same passionate lust/love emotion.
|Sarah Kurz: "I Love You More"|
For me, the painting of the view from the window seat on an airplane fit right in with the others. Anyone who has ever bit their fingernails knowing that when the plane landed their lover would be at the airport with sloppy kisses and flowers understands how a portrait of that moment is just as real and emotional as looking into your lovers round and vulnerable eyes. It is even titled “I love you more”, the exact emotion that the flying lover always feels: I’m the one coming to visit (or even move in with) you: I love you more.
|Jeila Gueramian: Find It|
Simultaneously in the gallery’s downstairs segment, “Curiosities in Fabric” by Jeila Gueramian took me back to worlds I once created while reading Where the Wild Things Are (NOT THE MOVIE!) and Boom-Chica-Boom.
Although I must admit that for me all the sex and intimacy going on with Kurz upstairs overshadowed this, it was a fun rendition of those childhood creatures you created in your mind. From one-eyed pillow monsters with plaid eyelids (Pet Rocks Series of 15) to the inside of a mysterious and (seemingly?) benevolent creature’s mouth in Jaws, meandering down the stairs into a childhood fantasy was playfully enjoyable—although in a completely less grown-up way than the lust and love from upstairs.