Jeanette Jacobs's brightly hued, pieced, and appliquéd cotton Civil Rights quilt spells out a rallying cry: "If lesbian & gay people are given civil rights then everyone will want them!" Suzanna Strong installs a couple of dozen long, pointy red velvet tongues curling out from a gallery wall. They call to mind snakes, devils, and the band Kiss, and are campy fun. More unsettling is Delia Kovac's series, Semi-Self Portrait As a Ski Mask: four paintings of lumpy heads with freaked-out or dull eyes and gross toothy mouths, and Lauren Kalman's Blooms, Efflorescence and Other Dermatological Embellishments (Cystic Acne, Chest), which features paired photos of a woman's arm and back bejeweled with tiny beads on tiny pins stuck into her flesh. Nothing sticks in your head like S&M jewelry inspired by skin problems.
Mara Trachtenberg presents a photo of a pair of orange and purple giraffes sporting pearl necklaces and preening on pedestals rising from a reflecting pool in a formal garden, under a rainbow. It's from her A Decadent World series of elaborately decorated sugar creatures and formal topiary gardens constructed with cake decorating techniques. The medium-format, digitally-enhanced photos look like outtakes from some entrancingly bizarre Claymation film. "In light of our current environmental crisis," Trachtenberg writes, "A Decadent World explores the ways in which human culture uses, needs, abuses and co-opts nature." That environmental critique doesn't really register, but there's potential here. The project calls out for more — more sugary decoration, more symbolic narratives, more, more, more!
: Museum And Gallery
, University of Rhode Island, Delia Kovac, feminism, More