EVOKING EARNESTNESS Harada’s Ishihara Heart.
These missives don't have the swooning, steamy, bodice-ripping passion of romance novel covers. There are no salacious double entendres. The one-of-a-kind and limited edition valentines in "Valentined" at Craftland (235 Westminster Street, Providence, through March 3) are sweet, a bit nerdy, cute, funny, kind of chaste, kind of cozy, affectionate, and adorable. This is about geek love, about wooing you with demonstrations of endearing smarts. They had me at hello.
Or maybe it was the puns. Alec Thibodeau's pen drawing I Wanna Give You a Squeeze depicts a little boar being squeezed by the coils of a python. Morgan Calderini and Arley-Rose Torsone, the married ladies behind Ladyfingers Letterpress, offer a white card that appears blank at first, but look closely and you see it's embossed by letterpress printing with the line: "You've Made an Impression on Me."
Craftland's Deb Dormody and Jen Corace's roundup of 30 artists — a mix of locals and national folks — is a perfect match of concept and artist community. Craftland has ended up one of the liveliest local galleries because, in addition to good taste, the store's crafty bent aligns so well with Providence's do-it-yourself, handmade style. And the cards here are affordable; prices range from $12 to $550, but about half of valentines are $30 or less.
Jill Colinan's Pine features one of her signature dolls — creepy bead teeth grin, long braided hair, lacy dress — in a little white box. Stuck on one interior wall is a vintage photo of a fellow, apparently the object of the doll's affection. But lots of little white nails hang down from the ceiling above her like a trap.
In Hilary Treadwell's An Anatomy of Love, a banner reads "Thinking of you" on a frosted vellum cover that opens to reveal vintage anatomy images that you can fold back, one by one, to show muscles, skeleton, ribs and lungs, heart, intestines, and stomach. It's goth love.
A LOOK INSIDE Treadwell’s An Anatomy of Love.
Kath Connolly's Imperfect love notes are bull's-eyes made from stacked circles of felt with texts in the center: "Occupy my heart," "You are my economy of hope," "You cannot evict love." They're like candy conversational hearts for love that bloomed at one of the Occupy Wall Street encampments.
Mickey Zacchilli turns her feral, psychedelic, Gary Panter-esqe style loose in her black ink drawing of a kneeling wolf- or horse-headed person-thing apparently ripping its beating heart from its chest and burning its tongue with a lit cigar while a snake slithers through its mouth, around its body and between its legs. Jason Tranchida plumbs this same crazy, consuming, mind-meltingness of romance — though from more of a witty, ironic, hipster angle — by printing love song lyrics in white vinyl letters on a trio of red fire extinguishers: Madonna ("I'm burning up, burning up for your love"), Dolly Parton ("Baby I'm burning out of control") and Blue Öyster Cult ("Burn out the day, burn out the night"). Is the point to put the fire out?