'My Wicked Twisted Sense of Love'

A busted valentine of a show with five artists rendering the signals of wracked romance

Arts Review

'My Wicked Twisted Sense of Love'

Women & Their Work, 1710 Lavaca,

477-1064, www.womenandtheirwork.org

Through Jan. 7, 2010

Who doesn't have a wicked, twisted sense of love? Someone who's never had a broken heart, not even once, not even slightly wounded by that one high school crush with the tight jeans and the habit of humming Morrissey songs in the hallway between classes, much less by that co-worker they had a brief fling with in year 10 of their marriage but never told their spouse about? "Never told their spouse about," yes, who's wicked and twisted in that scenario?

"Listen long enough," writes the poet David Jewell, "and everyone is interesting and slightly destroyed."

Spend enough time at Women & Their Work's current show – part of a Downtown lunch hour, say, maybe a detour during a Saturday afternoon ramble – and you'll see where some of that interest and destruction has wound up.

This group exhibition is curated by Leslie Moody Castro, such a perfect middle name for this show, and she's gathered works by Anthony Romero, Laura Ann Meyers, Katri Walker, Gabriela Rodriguez, and Luis Carlos Hurtado: a quintessence of creative souls to render these signals of wracked romance.

Romero starts things off with a series of five videos, each playing in a different monitor, each featuring the artist as a version of some modern-day "shaman" pitching his availability on the Internet Shaman Dating Service. Damned funny, with Romero in different freaky getups and affecting diverse voices but also weirdly effective in its cumulative impact. Who among us could be so unself-conscious, if they've ever made their own lonely-heart pitch on a similar service, to feel other than as goofy/skeevy/Beyond Thunderdome as these passionate eccentrics?

Meyers harvests the high school crop of fantasy and longing, with her giant pink crepe-paper heart against one white wall, its title – CRUSH – scrawled in plastic cursive letters across the front of the symbol. Even simpler and more redolent of romantic yearning is Meyers' other piece in this show, where she's spelled out the name Mrs. Joseph Gough Daly IV in glittery pipe-cleaner calligraphy. Bonus: A little curious Googling will bring you, later, to the wedding announcement (on this just-passed Dec. 12) of the artist and the man who bears that name. (That's not wicked or twisted, though, is it? That's just a whole big pile of "awwwwwwww.")

What, on the other hand (or ventricle), is to be made of Hurtado's words carved into bark and the severed trunks of trees, arranged as for burning in a campfire? "Algo esta Pasando," these woods say, "Coma Bien, Via Bien" and "Hay Otros Dias Suaves." And it's all going up into flames, ashes to ashes, perhaps inspired by the light of someone's life and the fire of their loins, now consigned to burning dust? And what of the other works in this busted valentine of a show: Walker's videos and Rodriguez's drawings and watercolors?

Take a trip of eight syllables, we suggest, and see "My Wicked Twisted Sense of Love" at Women & Their Work. Bonus No. 2: Bring your significant other along, whether you're in the throes of emotional ecstasy or your dreams are on a train to train-wreck town, and try to work out the mystery for yourselves.

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My Wicked Twisted Sense of Love, Women & Their Work, Leslie Moody Castro, Anthony Romero, Laura Ann Meyers, Katri Walker, Gabriela Rodriguez, Luis Carlos Hurtado

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