Throughout the ages, most art was focused on the female form. Yes, there have been exceptions, like Michelangelo’s “David.” But think about all the fabulous, voluptuous babes painted by the old masters: the Venuses—of Willendorf, of Milo—or the “Mona Lisa,” or even Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.”
Local artists Trina Allen, Irina Beffa and Holly Calderone had seen enough and decided to turn the tables. Their exhibit, Women Do Men, opens October 14 and runs until the end of the month at the Phoenix Gallery, 1729 L Street. It offers their take on the male form—in provocative poses, grandfatherly portraits and even snapshotty painted studies of the guy next-door fixing up his old jalopy.
Allen’s weapon of choice is a digital camera, and her clever use of lighting forces you to really study the black-and-white “Schmetterling Genuflection” to figure out what’s what. “Meat Attack” is kind of gross, as a guy lustily stuffs his face with some raw meat—like, maybe chicken? Ugh. But there’s a connection there to greedy consumption and the conquering of any number of things.
Calderone works in acrylics, piercing her paintings with masculine accoutrement: nuts, bolts and hanging wires. Some of her painterly studies are beefcake. Others, like “Atom,” capture everyman under the hood. Her linoleum cut prints are pretty powerful. The simple lines in the poignant “Uncle Angelo” ooze sadness and loneliness.
Beffa’s more stylized work reveals the character of “Tata Ipolit” in black-and-white that pops out from a vibrant, red-patterned background. Her acrylic “Man with Blue Eyes and Scar” carries a Pop-Art feeling, from the cartoonish palette, patterned background and stubble flecking his lower face to the piercing blue eyes and the Frankenstein scar at his temple. For information, call (916) 447-1632.