Oh Valentine’s Day, a day of almost-certain seduction for relationship junkies and the one day of the year when taking one too many Lexapro is considered socially acceptable for those without a mate.
Oh Valentine’s Day, a day of almost-certain seduction for relationship junkies and the one day of the year when taking one too many Lexapro is considered socially acceptable for those without a mate. Either way, the daunting task of deciding what to do on a day where everyone is expected to do something can be overwhelming to say the least. Thankfully, the Portland art community has anticipated this need for activity for both lovers and loners alike.
The Fifth Annual Love Show kick starts its month-long celebration of love in all its varied forms tonight at the Olympic Mills Commerce Center, with tunes provided by DJs Non-Profit and Roscoe. The show began as a giant “fuck you” to all the cheesy jewelry and romance ads that circulate the media this time of year.
“That portrayal of love is sappy, sweet and gross,” said Love Show founder Ben Pink. “Love is so much more than that.”
Pink began the Love Show five years ago at his gallery, Launch Pad, as a way to give emerging artists a chance to exhibit their work in whatever way they wanted.
“I wondered what artists would do if they had the chance to exhibit work that was completely uncensored and not judged,” Pink said. “Our artists are not required to sell their work, so it allows them to exhibit stuff that they may not otherwise have shown.”
What began as a small collection of love-themed pieces that annually decorated the walls of Launch Pad has become a bit of a beast. With more than 300 artists signed up to exhibit and sell their work, the event now has its own Web site, volunteer opportunities, 11 sponsors, live music and requires the sponsor gallery to close its doors until after the event.
The talent on display is as varied as love itself. From portraits of bondage-clad women to an anchored heart, it can be assumed that whatever your vision of love is it’s on display here. Maybe it’s the field of heart-shaped flowers that tickles your fancy, or the canoodling of jellyfish deep in that mysterious blue ocean—they’ve got it all.
You’re bound to despise some of the work that is on display. You may think some is too sappy or that some of it looks like the kind of art you would see hanging on the walls of that neighbor who’s way too into dream catchers and psychedelics. This, however, is why the exhibit feels alive, as each piece represents the person behind the art and their one, small perspective of this driving force behind all of us.
The show is not just for happy people who want to look at happy art. It includes work that captures a raw feeling of torment and anguish that creeps in the shadows along side all of life’s best moments. “Try,” states a bleeding heart nailed to a wooden plank. In another, a canvas of monkeys all go about their lives, some screaming, a few embracing, others eating, but most distinctive are the ones that just sit and wait—their bored, darkened eyes telling the story of loneliness.
The Love Show will also be a partial benefit show by donating 10 percent of bar sales to support the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund, as well as donating 5 percent of art sales to the Zimbabwe Artist Project. Attendees are also encouraged to bring a can of food to donate to the Oregon Food Bank.
Date or no date, this is bound to be one of the biggest art shows of the year, the perfect segue into a weekend of classy meals and edible undies, or just something to prevent you from calling your ex, and maybe meeting a fellow member of the Lonely Hearts Club in the process.