Power of love vs. the love of power on view in Erotica at Stu­dio 107-B

Tempo - - CONTENTS - by Vir­ginia L. Clark

When was the last time you saw a haunt­ing and haughty fig­u­ra­tive piece from Larry Bell? Or a tall, de­li­ciously sin­u­ous metal fem­i­nine from Frank

mega blast of sen­su­ous Taos tal­ent and more in Stu­dio 107-B’s “Erotica” on Taos Plaza.

The fo­cus of this Fe­bru­ary ex­hibit is the pull of the erotic, as op­posed to the sale of the porno­graphic. That’s es­pe­cially im­por­tant in this new era of ex­pos­ing sex­ual harass­ment, lack of con­sent and, most ig­no­min­ious of all, ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The best dis­tinc­tion I have come up with is that pornog­ra­phy is only for profit, pe­riod. Erotica is an ex­plo­ration of eros, the essence and aes­thetic of the life force in all its mystery. Mul­ti­me­dia artist, writer and mu­si­cian Art Dur­kee goes fur­ther, say­ing pornog­ra­phy’s sex ma­nia “is truly eros de­filed, or mis­di­rected love and com­pas­sion. Ma­nia leads to power over oth­ers, while eros leads to power with. As the say­ing goes, which would you choose: The love of power, or the power of love?” ( art­dur­kee. blogspot. com/ 2007/ 03/ erotica- vs­pornog­ra­phy).

Eros is in­deed com­pelling, and artists are per­haps bet­ter equipped to ex­plore the depths and ec­sta­cies of eros than most of us with more pedes­trian cu­rios­ity and tal­ent.

Chat­ting with Izumi Yokoyama a few hours be­fore the show’s open­ing Satur­day ( Feb. 10), she filled me in on an ex­am­ple of tra­di­tion spurring real and em­broi­dered erotic re­al­i­ties of Ja­panese cul­ture. She was born in Ja­pan in 1980. “Ja­pan is the only place where there are pinky fin­ger pros­thet­ics,” she said, point­ing to the am­pu­tated lit­tle fin­ger drip­ping blood in a long, slow line and pool­ing at the base of her small pen and ink piece

she has en­tered in the show. In “Lu­nacy,” Yokoyama evokes the Ja­panese tra­di­tion where the “red thread” is tied on your pinkie fin­ger and is con­nected to the per­son you’re meant to be with for the rest of your life.

“In cut­ting off your lit­tle fin­ger and send­ing it to the one you love, but are for­bid­den to love … “she finds there a pow­er­ful mix of eroti­cism, hor­ror and fas­ci­na­tion. “I wouldn’t cut my fin­ger off, but I do ad­mire the com­mit­ment of some­one who would do that.” The pinkie pros­the­sis, by the way, is used to pro­tect ex-Yakuza mem­bers, she said, who have be­trayed the gang some­how and are pun­ished with pinkie re­moval, pre­vent­ing any prospect of suc­cess­ful em­ploy­ment if you show up for an in­ter­view, minus digit num­ber five. The pros­the­ses guar­an­tee you’ll get work and stand a chance to sur­vive and maybe even thrive. An­other mix of pas­sion, com­pas­sion and sac­ri­fice is in Iva Mor­ris’s oil on can­vas trip­tych ti­tled, “Rap­ture.” Caught in the act of hang­ing the gallery with hus­band Brian O’Con­nor, Mor­ris ad­mits to fas­ci­na­tion with the whole process of re­la­tion­ships. Mor­ris and her hus­band are artists from Ve­guita.

“This is part of an on­go­ing se­ries about mar­riage, and mid­dle age and catas­tro­phes,” Mor­ris said. “Things that hap­pen in life – like my youngest son get­ting sick, my daugh­ter mov­ing to New York, a flood – and the re­silience and rap­ture, a yin and yang of re­la­tion­ships, and moth­er­hood, you know?”

The cen­ter­piece of the trip­tych is the up­per torso of a woman with arms out­stretched, eyes closed or per­haps she’s ex­hausted and un­con­scious (maybe even dead?), with dol­lar bills and roses float­ing ev­ery­where. The two flank­ing pieces are a man and a woman, each in their own frame, scream­ing or yelling, eyes closed, emo­tion­ally be­yond their lim­its and ger­bera flow­ers float­ing in and around their heads.

“There’s a sug­ges­tion of masochism, masochis­tic pain and pas­sion, all mixed in,” Mor­ris ex­plained about her process in the paint­ing. “That’s why I put the roses in, kind of like the smell of the roses and the smell of money, kind of an ol­fac­tory ex­pe­ri­ence.” An art teacher of grades K- 12 in

New Mex­ico for years, she said she finds ageism to be gen­er­ous in this state, given the deep­run­ning re­spect of Na­tive and His­panic tra­di­tions that honor the wis­dom and love of el­ders. An­glo cul­tures she’s en­coun­tered in her life­time.

The ex­hibit’s an­nounce­ment art­work, O’Con­nor’s large oil, “Tar­get,” de­picts nine or 10 peo­ple in var­i­ous stages of dress ( with one nude), a hor­ror piece in­spired by Abu Ghraib pri­son tor­tures dur­ing the Iraq war. But it went wrong, he ad­mit­ted wryly. He in­vited friends over one day to stage the piece, and they had so much fun pos­ing in a pile, their good­ness shows through, in­stead of the tor­tured con­scious­ness that spawned such heinous crimes against hu­man­ity.

Barry Di­nowitz’s to­tal ab­stract caused owner- cu­ra­tor- con­trib­u­tor Máye Tor­res to ask, “Now what’s erotic about this piece, Barry?” And he replied in typ­i­cal Di­now­itzian fash­ion, “It’s the paint! Loovk at that juicy color!” OK. You gotta see this. Twenty hugely tal­ented artists are in the new show, in­clud­ing, Taos artists Pa­trick Brady, Tammy Do­bos, Gretchen Ew­ert, Stephen Kil­born, Hu­berto Maes­tas, Roger Martínez, Au­gus­tine Mira­bal, Michael Naranjo, Anita Ro­dríguez, Dustin Sweet, Dan Vigil, Michael Vigil, Sasha vom Dorp and Tor­res. I don’t have enough room to do them all jus­tice, so best to hie your­self and a friend or two down to Stu­dio 107- B for a day or three dur­ing Fe­bru­ary to catch this great show by some of Taos’ truly great. En­joy.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call the


‘RAP­TURE,’ trip­tych, oil on can­vas by Iva Mor­ris


‘BROODY,’ ink pen draw­ing by Izumi Yokoyama


‘SHALL WE DANCE,’ bronze sculp­ture by Michael Naranjo

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