While another mugging took place across town, I was having dinner with an artist...

Two evenings prior to the opening of her show at the McLoughlin Gallery last week, I was having dinner with Christy Lee Rogers and her companion. After we left the restaurant and I was escorting them back to their hotel,  we spoke of the lovely weather of this particular evening and what a pleasant rarity it was, among other things.  It was only later I discovered that while we were seated at dinner, the Femme Fatale was busy enacting a vicious mugging of Penelope. The perverse nature of the repulsive attack, and its aftermath, brings the long-running subplot of the bizarre love tetrahedron to an ugly denouement, both here and in reality. I write of it only to tie the final knot in the thread.Now, back to dinner. Christy and I have maintained a loose correspondence since we first met a couple of years ago in Los Angeles and this  was our first chance to have an extended conversation, which took place over Thai food at Ler Ros. When I first saw Christy's Sirens collection I was deeply moved by the beauty and mystery of the images, so it took me a little by surprise to discover the artist behind them was an open, warm and engaging personality. For some reason I expected her to be more elusive, guarded perhaps, about who she is and how she approached her art. She was neither, and during dinner we had a long, revealing conversation, touching down in numerous places.

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Two nights later I went to the opening of the show, which coincided with the monthly First Thursday Art walk. There were plenty of people about the entrance of 49 Geary and milling through the corridors of the building, which contains seventeen or eighteen different galleries, but soon I entered owner Joan McLoughlin's warm, well-lighted space, and saw Christy standing in front of the triptych Sackcloth and Ashes, talking with a couple of people while others stood around apparently eavesdropping. I espied her companion, went over to say hello and he led me through the exhibit, entitled "Odyssey," which makes sense as the palette of her work has expanded beyond Sirens to include images with more color, male subjects, subjects whose gender is hard to determine, and the one in Battle of the Flesh looks an otherworldly feline.

Battle of the Flesh

Her new work presses further into ambiguous territory while looking back with deliberation toward the Renaissance in its use of color and depiction of cloth, though the view is submerged underwater and seen with a contemporary eye. Though she claims it was just a fortuitous result, the green spectre haunting the subject of Innocence evokes an infralapsarian nightmare.


Also on exhibit in the gallery is the delirious work of Dalia Nosratabadi, a globe-trotting Iranian woman who lives in Belgium. Her images are also created from water- in this case reflections viewed in puddles, which she photographs and then turns upside down to creating a disorienting vision of the world that's recognizable yet looks like a parallel universe. The exhibit is called Eau La La!, which nicely captures its energy and sense of playfulness.  Imagine Narcissus, armed with a passport and a camera, found the world reflected around him a much more interesting subject. Dalia, her husband, and their baby were present and I asked if she was doing any local shooting while she was here. She hadn't yet found any satisfactory puddles, so I suggested some corners downtown where she might have some luck. I would love to see what she could create here. The exhibit contains large digital images she's shot around the globe- it's compelling work that really captures the energy, confusion, and chaos of urban life.

1010 Xiang Hao

Viewed together in one space, the work of these two artists creates an irresistible juxtaposition- Joan McLoughlin has a keen eye. You can see for yourself until December 3rd.

Bend Over Times Square

Afterwards, we headed off for another meal and conversation, this time to Morac, where I found myself stimulated by the conversation taking place, the incongruous blonde Sirens floating through the room, and the décolletage of one in particular. Thankfully, no one was mugged that night, but crime season is now over- there's no one left to victimize.