For its final show, Absolutely Art is focusing not on sadness but on love.
A Discourse on Love features works by more than forty-five artists throughout the gallery as well as next door. The paintings, drawings, photography and mixed-media works are up until June 28, when the Atwood Avenue gallery closes its doors.
The exhibition is a result of a multifaceted project led by local artist Mallory Shotwell. She conducted a hundred interviews at schools, coffee shops, a hospice and other sites, collected love letters from drop boxes set up across the city, held community workshops and asked artists to create original works exploring love of all kinds.
"This is an artistic and philosophical discourse on love in Madison, Wisconsin," Shotwell writes in an exhibition statement. "The mission of the project is to connect community through collective experiences of love and explore the wide spectrum and many expressions that are within it."
Beautiful wood plaques organize the exhibition, posing questions to which artists offer visual responses.
Near the question "What is your love map?" is "Laura and Michael's Love Map," a work on paper charmingly outlining thunderstorms, tacos, Patsy Cline and other elements important to the pair's relationship. By "Who taught you to love?" is "Katie," a beautiful, colorful portrait of a young woman with flowers atop her long brown hair.
Tami Dettinger's "Petal Heart in Snow," in which vibrant petals form a heart shape in bright white snow, and Briony Morror-Cribbs' "Iguanaadae I," featuring two iguana-human hybrids touching heads, answer the query, "What is the language of love?"
Beautiful abstracted works by Philippa Bergmann and Claire Kellesvig and ethereal photographs by Margaret Durow respond to "What does it mean to love?" while Paul West's four black and white photographs of artistic pursuits reply to "What are the different expressions of love?"
In Café Zoma, Jaroslava Sobiskova answers the question, "What does love look like?" with "Premysl," a large-scale portrait of a smiling blonde man in a blue printed shirt (shown at right).
Absolutely Art owner Meghan Blake-Horst says she appreciates closing the gallery with this eclectic exploration of love. And keep an eye open for her new project, MadCity Bazaar, an urban pop-up flea market held at the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce parking lot. The first event was this past weekend; more are coming up on July 20 and August 17.
A Discourse on Love runs through June 28 at Absolutely Art. For more information, visit absolutelyartllc.com.