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The new installation from Albert Reyes at Low Gallery in North Park pays tongue-in-cheek homage to Valentine’s Day. “Albert and the Black Hearts,” which features a series of illustrations from the artist, is “a celebration of love and other tragedies” as red-inked prints and original artwork line the walls of Low Gallery through March 9th.
Reyes is a skilled draftsman whose stock-in-trade is exacting linework, but the the artist has played with ideas of contour in other media; by creating elaborate mazes, or drawing on sidewalks with spit or beer. If anything unifies his artwork, it’s a desire to lampoon and laud cultural figures with equal fervor. Consider a print from one of his earlier collections: Sarah Palin dressed fully thuggish-ruggish. It could seem cruel, but it’s not without affection.
Despite the reference to the tragedy of love, “Albert and the Black Hearts” isn’t a purely cynical evisceration of conventional romance. The intimate moment of Reyes' “Kissing,” for instance, is as much homage to young love as “Koons” (a creepy portrait of Michael Jackson and his chimp Bubbles) is disturbing and weirdly intimate.
There is no single face of love, and Reyes attempts to show this fantastic, sometimes-troubling emotion from many angles. February 14 may be a day bought and paid for with chocolates, roses, and fancy dinners, but there is always a little more to love than that.