CHARMING Sun’s “Lovin’ You.”
The ink drawings and watercolors of Jen Corace, a Providence artist and illustrator as well as one of the folks behind Craftland, often depict worlds of fairy tale adventure. They feel carefully observed, filled with a dreamlike hush and a faint undercurrent of melancholy.
She amazes with her piece Eden in Craftland's second annual Valentine show "Love Nest" (235 Westminster St, Providence, through March 2). A green covered tome called America's Garden Book is folded open to reveal an accordion folder with a diorama inside. Cut-out paper silhouettes show a wolf slinking after rabbits in a wood, and further in, a naked Eve and bearded Adam sitting against a tree. Love is not in the air. They face away from each other, seemingly alone while together. And a snake slithers down from the branches above toward Eve.
Corace is one of 15 artists, most hailing from Providence, in the romance-themed exhibit. It's a fun show. And aligns with Craftland's cozy yet skeptical take on the world. Most of the artists have a wry or entertainingly cynical view on love.
CW Roelle bends wire into a 3D drawing of the Love Boat. A painted and embroidered pillow by Erin Rosenthal, formerly of Providence, now of Hardwick, Vermont, depicts three elf-tree-beings cradling a baby in their arm-branches. Peter Fuller's bird's nest lamp is a simple, brilliant transformation. He recycles parts of bicycle frames into a rugged bird's nest that holds a pair of light bulbs that double as eggs.
IN THE GARDEN Corace’s “Eden.”
Other artists invent sweet, cute worlds. Lovin' You by Berkeley, California's Deth P. Sun is a charming cartoony painting of cat-person asleep alone in bend in a cottage amid snow-capped mountains. The rooms are decorated with a San Francisco Forty-Niners pennant, a potted plant, a bottle of booze, a dagger, and a book titled Lovin' You.
Cranston's Corey Grayhorse shows one of her signature surreal costume photos, Bunny Love, depicting a couple reading the newspaper and having breakfast in bed. The woman leaves over to hug her bunny-headed partner. It's cute-weird. Portland, Oregon's Daria Tessler envisions a Dr. Seuss-ian town of floating onion-dome houses joined by bridge-walkways in her cartoony pen, ink, and watercolor. At the center, a pair of bird-wizards perch in a nest atop a frail tree floating in mid air and stare into each other's eyes.
EMOTIONAL OUTPOURING A print by Cozzens.
At AS220's Main Gallery (115 Empire St, Providence, through February 23), artist-activist Ian Cozzens quotes Guy Hocquenghem writing about "starting the revolution by publicly announcing the object of your desire, and asking in public who desires you."
Cozzens's recent art about queer living and loving comes out of his transition from woman to guy beginning in 2009. "So you're not comfortable with our complexity?" he rants in a screenprinted broadside. "Your systems of control are not safety. They will never be a place to live . . . Yet we live right here, in dissonance & beauty. We're not comfortable. Yeah, we might be dangerous. Our long-term effects are definitely unknown. Our complexity is the world."