Judging from the throngs of people who showed up at the Olympic Mills building Friday evening to participate in the 5th Annual Love Show, love in all its permutations and interpretations still has allure in Portland. This non-juried art show created by Ben Pink of Launchpad Gallery and Portland City Art (Chris Haberman's group) typifies what is fun and unique about the Portland alternative art scene.
For curators, gallery owners, and whomever else might have a stake in art as a commodity that needs to be filtered and ranked, the egalitarian nature of this show might be a bit off-putting. I enjoy seeing high and low concept, amateur and professional, MFAer and weekend dabbler all hung together under hit and miss lighting.
If you, like me, look to the Love Show to clarify what has been a problematic concept, maybe this data I've have gleaned from a systematic examination of the content of the show will be helpful. Here are some repeating themes of the show: Hearts rendered at different times childlike or as if they came from a medical journal. Animals either fornicating or cuddling. Pink. Attractive people with solemn expressions. Lusty images of people (or animals) looking like they have a sexual yearning or who are actually engaged in the act. Beasts (homely men, gorillas and the like) with angst-ridden expressions pining over delicate females. Flowery and delicate abstractions. Mermaids.
Partially or fully engorged penises.
The love show is up through March 12th.