Reuben Negrón: Dirty Dirty Love
Like the Spice Gallery
Reuben Negrón’s recent exhibit of watercolors at Like the Spice Gallery is a strong display of figurative work seen in a modern, fresh light. Negrón’s use of the medium is masterful, and he uses figures to create intimate scenes filled with a warm humanity. It is hard to decide if I preferred the intimacy of the small works or more ambitious large scale pieces. There exists more a focus on diffusion of color and multiple light sources in the larger works, with lush colors bleeding into one another in a sensual handling of the medium.
I particularly like the quiet interplay in the work titled Becky and Naomi. His use of color in particular injects this work with a dynamic sense of realism. The other small works on exhibit were a series of portraits of an ordinary couple in various love making positions. The figures were realistically handled, but silhouetted on expansive, stark white paper. The scale of the works draw you in, and the eroticism seems familiar, and real, but I found myself blushing as if I were intruding on a real couple’s intimate space.
Lest we forget the desire for twisted pleasure, several of the works on exhibit featured several depictions of a suited man holding a whip while standing over a nude woman. While at first glance they seem provocative, they’re actually playful depictions of dangerous play between consenting adults. For a young artist, Negrón may have found a genre he enjoys and portrays well. I look forward to seeing how else he challenges our voyeuristic nature in the future.