The Stux Gallery presents Bad Big Love, a group exhibition of Gallery artists that creates a dialogue concerning the visual expression of that most repressed of human emotions, namely Love. This evocative pairing of works provides a voyeuristic insight into the repression of innate human instinct, illustrating that regardless of political, social or cultural pressures, the expression of love infallibly transcends. The artist’s involved address the notion of love from diverse points of view, and through various media, contrasting the “syrupy and sweet” version of this visceral emotion. Icelandic-born, New York based painter Thordis Adalsteinsdottir’s idiosyncratic paintings inhabit a peculiar zone between figuration and pure fantasy. The artist’s subjects, both human and animal, enact scenes that recall domestic abuse and sexual dysfunction.
Ruud van Empel’s photo-works explore fantastic and illusionary worlds, presenting thoroughly unique voyeuristic glimpses into unknown and seemingly impossible settings. The photographs function as uncanny digitalized “fairytales,” created through the mastery and manipulation of digital technology, confounding the conventionally sensitive emotional cues often coupled with this subject matter.
Senior German master painter Kuno Gonschior, who lives and works near Düsseldorf, Germany, was recognized early on in his career with his prominent multi-room installation at Documenta 6. The works on view evoke, abstractly, the notion of longing for a lost love. The title of the paintings, Landscapes for Ulrike, expose these works for what they are, a “gift of Love” for the artist’s late wife. Tracey Moffatt’s hauntingly whimsical film Love addresses our inherent need to scrutinize the most vulnerable of human emotions via their representation in mass media. Her work addresses our innermost taboos head on. Attaching humanistic qualities to his large-scale constructs, Dennis Oppenheim subverts the fleeting nature of humanemotions. Salutations to the Sky, 1994, a photographic intervention, questions the human relationship to the ephemeral notion of Love.
Orlan’s treatment of her own image is enhanced by the introduction of issues of “self” and “other.” The overwhelming collection of “faces” in combination with Orlan’s already hybridized face, offers insight into the complexities of an artist who is attempting to create a new “self.” As a result, Orlan simultaneously asks her audience to question their own ideal self, and their ability (or failure) to “fall in love” with their own self-image. In his 1999 series Beyond Decorum, Iké Udé creates close-ups of men’s business shirts and women’s high-heeled shoes, except that instead of the usual manufacturer’s label inside, each bears the text of a pornographic personal ad.
The photographs highlight anonymous graphic descriptions of pornographic desire that are intended, ironically, for public distribution. Manabu Yamanaka’s empathic portraiture of 90 year old Japanese women reveals a concept of love that transcends the body: some laugh, others are shy, inquisitive, or even flirtatious. These timeless and ageless qualities are courtesy of the trust bestowed in the artist by the subjects, reminding us that the relationships we make can be art forms in and of themselves.