Mating Call at Believe Inn
by Niki Grangruth
Candy-colored paintings of nymph-like cartoon characters, cubist-inspired muses, tan-skinned madonna-esque figure and the lush jungle of Puerto Rico direct the subject matter of work by artists Chris Silva and Lauren Feece at Believe Inn. The show, titled "Mating Call," contains works created by the artists during a two year stay in Puerto Rico, where they spent most of their time in isolation along a river on 16 acres of land in the lush jungle.
The colors were obviously inspired by the artists' environment. Aqua blues, vibrant greens, and Tuscan oranges dominate the paintings, which are hung salon-style in the compact gallery space. Love and cuteness are in abundance with depictions of a deer whose antlers are adorned with feathers, colorful birds paired with hearts, and many beautiful longhaired women sprouting flowers and feathers.
Silva's "Wise Children's Room Investment" stood out as the only sculptural work. Created from dilapidated wood, paint and a cartoonish wooden llama, surrounded by silhouettes of plants and sunburst flowers. In accordance with the title, it appears to be a rustic version of a children's wall plaque.
"Peacock" by Feece depicts a woman with dark features haloed by a vibrant orange sunset. Her flowing brown hair gives way to turquoise and green peacock feathers, forming an inner halo. The paintings have a spiritual and mythological air around them, drawing from religious iconography and cultural folklore. The impact of her Puerto Rican experience reveals itself in the work through the use of color, subject matter and style.
At first look, the style seems completely static, which is surprising for works created by two different artists. Upon closer examination, there are obvious differences between the styles of the artists; Silva uses slightly brighter colors and focuses more on abstract line and shape while Feece uses a more subdued palette and focuses on figurative subjects, specifically women. In a few of the paintings on which the two artists collaborated, these two styles interweave; Silva's geometric shapes give way to Feece's organic swirls of color.
Believe Inn is located at 2043 N. Winchester Ave. For more information, visit www.believeinn.org