When: Sept. 6-28 2013
When you walk into the exhibit Making Friends with the Devil at LeQueVive Gallery (1525 Webster St., Oakland), you encounter a mural of soft-pink hues highlighted with white spots to evoke a kind of wetness. Up close, the piece is an unrecognizable blend of rosy colors that could have been borrowed from a still life of a bouquet. Take a step back, however, and it becomes clear that the image as a whole more closely resembles an intimate view of a clitoris. This is the work of artist Helen Bayly, and her goal is to confront our highly sexualized culture with finely drawn nudes inspired by pornography. Sometimes adorning the figures with delicate flowers and provocative text (“Come and get it,” for example), she presents them artistically in an attempt to interrogate the fine line between carnal attraction and rational aversion. Her accompanying drawings of de-feathered dead chickens form a stomach-churning juxtaposition that invites an examination of contemporary eroticism.