The Art of Marriage
Married 2 Art. At the Jewish Community Center. Shows through
January 30, 2007.
Reviewed by Beth Taylor-Schott
To put on a show of contemporary art
works by married couples is to invite the testing of theories. To
put on a show as diverse and compelling as Married 2 Art, as
curator Ditte Wolff has done at the Jewish Community Center, is to
thwart all those who would arrive brandishing such theories.
Do women produce more feminine art? Since the show hangs the
work of each couple next to each other, it is easy to try this
experiment: As you move through the gallery and hall spaces, see if
you can tell which works are by the wives and which by the
husbands, before you get close enough to read the wall labels. In a
few cases, you’ll probably guess correctly.
Janice Gilbar Treadwell’s lush flowers do contrast with the
gritty, black and white landscapes done by her husband Peter. Mary
Heebner’s intuitive renditions of vessel shapes might also catch
your eye as primordially feminine, though her husband, Macduff
Everton’s gorgeous panoramas hardly seem particularly masculine.
Penny McCall’s hooked rug works not only nod to feminine craft
techniques, but delight in their domestic subject matter. But then,
Wayne McCall’s explorations of decaying and disposed matter might
look downright feminine themselves.
At other times, you will guess wrong, and most of the time, you
will have no basis for comparison. Yareli Corbian paints herself in
a bolder Rembrandtian idiom than her husband Sergio Rebia, and many
of the husbands’ works are indistinguishable from their wives. You
will need a strong connoisseur’s eye, for example, to distinguish
Sharon Dabney Romero’s paintings from those of her husband, Frank.
Philip Argent’s works could have been another series that Jane
Callister was working on — so similar are the colors, shapes, and
underlying compositional sense — and Rollin Fortier’s sculpture
could have been photographer Hilary Brace working in another
medium, while mining the same brilliant vein of amorphousness.
You might also test the theory that husband and wife are likely
to influence each other’s work. Magdalena and Michael Frimkess work
so closely together that both their names appear on their ceramics.
Jean Lowe and Kim MacConnel’s works, on the other hand, share
little more than a sense of whimsy. In the end, the only theory
that the show supports — given the universally high quality of
work — is the theory that two artists in the family are better than
one. Now we just need a show that includes same-sex couples to
irrefutably prove it.