By Sanjeev Selvarajah
Art lovers and other Somerville culture enthusiasts may want to check out the Delicious Torment art exhibit over at the NAVE. Exhibition dates are February 9 –24.
In a month known for love, 10 local and national artists portray the havoc that love evokes in the group exhibition, Delicious Torment, curated by NAVE director Susan Berstler.
“There will be an opening reception for Delicious Torment on Thursday, February 7, 6-8 p.m., with cookies from Lyndell’s Bakery,” writes Tori Costa who is attending to the marketing for Torment.
Costa goes on to say, “Delicious Torment examines emotional and physical attraction, heat and cold, passion and heartache, what is given and given up when two become entangled in one another.”
Curator Susan Berstler recently won the Artist of the Month for January 2013, awarded by the Somerville Arts Council. “There are nine artists in the Delicious Torment exhibition. The medium ranges from Leika Akiyama’s mixed media to watercolor, acrylic, photography and sculpture” says Berstler.
When prompted by an inquiry as to the general theme of this new exhibit, Berstler says, “The art does not portray the wonder of love. Instead, it looks at how love drives us crazy. How even in the midst of the excitement of it all, we lose a bit of ourselves, and how we live with the fact that that component of who we are is changed.”
“I have two artists who use the popular Harlequin romance novels as an inspiration for their pieces. Both approach the series differently, but they captured the “consumptive” nature of the Harlequin covers. In these covers, we usually see women being ravished by men. There is a whirlwind of lust that feeds on the dreams that we may have of being the focal point of someone’s desire. Both art pieces capture this consumption perfectly,” according to Berstler.
Berstler doesn’t want to label her own work with any particular mood or medium, although she does include that she hasn’t added any new pieces to her portfolio in the New Year, since managing the NAVE’s non-profit efforts has kept her preoccupied. Her background is in photography but she also works on large sculptures of mixed fiber and plastic bags, among other household tidbits that are taken for granted.
Lois Fiore, one of the contributors to NAVE and the Torment exhibit, was quite forthcoming: “My work comes from personal experiences, including family issues. I also follow world and national news and incorporate ideas and reactions generated by what I discover into my work.” Fiore did not hold back enthusiasm for Somerville as a center of culture. “I think we live in an extraordinary town. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place where art is so supported and treated with such energy and importance. We’re very lucky, as artists and as viewer/participants.” Fiore works in oils on canvas, as well as delving into pastels and charcoal, and likes to listen to blues while on the clock.
Michael Seif’s Semi-Circle is like a digitized Narcissus lost in a pool of his own reflection. Unbeknownst to this tragic soul, someone has stirred up the soup of his spring water and all his youth is flushed down this toilet of depraved indulgence. Still clinging to him sadly is the Grecian nymph he rejected.
Andrew Fish’s Dance Party is where the Velvet Underground benefits from an open mic of casual conversation, minus the opiates. The Underground pepped up on caffeine mingle with attractive twenty-somethings.
Aparna Agrawal’s At Rest, Alas clings to the primordial mother, very reminiscent of ancient sculpture of fertile, pot-bellied pregnant women, except instead of where the fetus lies two hands embrace this slim, yet curvaceous woman.
More information can be found at www.navegallery.org.