Arcadia indeed.
  • The Stranger
  • Arcadia indeed.

Yesterday, I found myself face to face with this painting by Kimberly Trowbridge at Roq La Rue. It's 13 1/2 feet long and 6 1/2 feet tall, and it's a statement piece. The passage at left is almost a quotation from the same area in Picasso's revered Demoiselles d'Avignon (look)—a portrait of prostitutes that looms larger than any other painting made in the last 200 years—and Trowbridge references other artists as well, a whole history of curtained/uncurtained classicism-into-modernism, from Titian to Fragonard to Manet. Granted, those paintings don't include quite such an aggressive straddle, or such ambiguous fingering, or such blazing peppery/cherry colors (they look a little muted here). Are there three pairs of figures, or fewer? What's going on under that sheer curtain?

Arcadia is part of a short exhibition at Roq La Rue called Sweet Fruit, featuring 37 local artists and organized by Sharon Arnold. It opens tonight. I won't tell you what its sort-of theme is; I'll let you figure that out on your own. Artists include familiar names like Gala Bent, Mandy Greer, Amanda Manitach, Debra Baxter, Gretchen Bennett, and Ellen Garvens, but also newer-comers like Counsel Langley, Stacey Rozich, and Jess Rees.

Rees created a sculpture I love: Inside a transparent Plexi cube with a mirrored base are two thin poles, a piece of sewing thread tied around the top of each with a needle threaded on its dangling end. A tiny silver cube magnet set on the mirrored base pulls both needles inward toward it, creating an X of tension (a V that gets reflected to create the X). The sharp needles point to the magnet but don't touch it; they're suspended in air. The piece is called Strong Forces Versus Weak Forces, and it's incredibly delicate, elegant.