Splendor, mirth and good cheer
“Grace” is, among other things, the title of the late singer Jeff Buckley’s debut album and hexagram No. 22 in the King Wen sequence of the I Ching. Triple it to make three graces, and you have, in Greek mythology, the goddesses Aglaia (splendor), Euphrosyne (mirth) and Thalia (good cheer). Raphael painted them, as did Peter Paul Rubens. And, most likely, so did Pamela Colman Smith—she for the Three of Cups card in the Rider-Waite tarot deck.
An invitational show this month at the Solomon Dubnick Gallery offers a contemporary look at this classic theme. Titled, well, The Three Graces, the exhibit gave 20 artists—Mark Bryan, M.R. Chase, Jorg R. Dubin, Ronald Gibbons, Tom Gracy, Sheldon Greenberg, Irving Marcus, Jeff Myers, Chris Newhard, Jack Ogden, Monique Passicot, Gary Pruner, Kim Scott, Jerald Silva, John Tarahteeff, Lorraine Vail, Camille VandenBerge, Rimas VisGirda, Jian Wang and Ken Waterstreet (a few of them among the area’s better-known creatives)—the opportunity of creating something new from the mythological past.
Some of the pieces in the show are fairly straightforward, compositionally: Pruner’s “The Look,” a study of three bathing beauties in colored pencil, turns the three graces into a tanning-oil ad. Dubin’s “Boxed” switches genders and plays down, depicting three joyless men melting from the top down. Others work from dream language: Scott’s “Sofia, Antanaklasi, Filanthropia” recasts the three graces as red, white and blue mutant women in some midnight lounge of the doomed; and Tarahteeff’s “The Three Graces,” Bryan’s “Billy’s Big Night” and Myers’ “Delicate Balance” offer other windows into that twilight world just before waking consciousness. The show’s most sensual piece is Newhard’s “Three Graces Twice Compromised—Abraham’s Legacy,” a posterior-focused keyhole peek at three veiled harem members that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and old-school rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot, given past public statements, would appreciate.
Also at the same location, in the Director’s Choice Gallery, is a collection of paintings by Jessica Dunne titled Travel Studies. And in the Tower Framing & Design Gallery section of the building, there’s an exhibition by Robert Bowen titled Anxiety and the Moral Misery.