Black love has its own music genre. It’s called R&B. From the sultry invitation of Marvin Gaye’s classic song “Let’s Get It On” and Toni Braxton’s disheartening break-up “Seven Whole Days” to Alicia Keys’ can’t live without you anthem, “If I Ain’t Got You,” R&B tells the story of Black people’s quest for Love…and sexual healing.
A new art show titled “Fever” pays homage to R&B’s sweltering love songs and timeless grooves in the second installation of the “Black in Every Color” exhibition at the Andaz West Hollywood located at 8401 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. Located on the world-renowned Sunset Strip, the hotel has been a hotspot for the music industry since the 1960s. Legends such as Jimmy Hendrix and Keith Richards have left their stardust there, making Andaz West Hollywood a destination for high culture.
It features a variety of mixed medium paintings displaying abstract, pop-art and figurative works of famous musical artists including Marvin Gaye, Aaliyah, Alicia Keys and Al Green. The exhibition was curated by Valence Projects’ Director Josiah David Jones.
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“Valence Projects is an arts agency I started about three years ago,” said Jones at the exhibit opening last week. “We’re focused on positive impact initiatives. Instead of working for big companies, I wanted to work to support artists who support their community, but have them backed by brand dollars,” said Jones, who works with local artists.
Jones said it was only a matter of time before his company progressed from doing murals to working with businesses that have vacant space to create community engagement with local artists. “What I have observed is the fine arts market is antiquated,” said Jones.
“They pick and choose the few artists they want to bankroll, but a lot of artists get left behind,” he added.
Jones said a lot of these artists have had solo shows, but they haven’t been exhibited in a “community arts space.” He said that Valence Projects is giving them a much-deserved platform.
Brittney S. Price, 33, is a fine artist and muralist. Price’s painting is titled “Ours 2 Be.” It is a captivating emerald-colored 6 feet by 5 feet picture of a lover braiding their partner’s hair, reminiscent of Alicia Keys’ melody, “A Woman’s Worth” and a common scene in Black love.
“This piece is part of my love series,” said Price, who is self-taught. “I recently got engaged. I’ve had a very tumultuous relationship with the word love and the definition of it,” she said. “So, I am teaching myself the different types of love.”
Price said “Our 2 Be” is her interpretation of two of the five types of love – pragma, and eros. Pragma is a practical expression of love that could mean an act of service. Eros represents the idea of sexual passion. For more information on Price’s work, visit www.BrittneySPrice.com.
What is reality? Afro-Surrealism painter Dez Porter, 25, aka Deadstxle gives a fanciful take on it in her thought-provoking piece, “Fifteen.” Afro-Surrealism is a genre that encompasses all art forms. Most recently it has been used the movies “Sorry To Bother You” and “Get Out” and the television show “Atlanta.”
Porter said that her best way to depict Black people’s reality is to depart from it. “[As an Afro-Surrealist], you’re not just questioning reality; you’re playing with it and turning it upside down,” said Porter. “In the African American experience, that’s what is happening to you,” said Porter. For more information on Porter’s work, visit www.deadstxlemedia.com.
Marry Harris aka Art Music Mary Jane has done several portraits of Black Hollywood stars such as Tisha Campbell and Nick Cannon. A talented multimedia fine artist, musician, and singer-songwriter, Harris is passionate about being authentic and vulnerable through creative expression.
Her painting is titled “Invisible Savior.” “It is specifically for a Black man who is in the military and his sacrifice is being tethered to the land and the sea,” said Harris. For more on Harris, visit www.artmusicmaryjane.com.
Andaz is owned by Hyatt and is part of its luxury line of hotels. The installation is on display in the hotel’s Art Exhibit Mezzanine Level until June 15. Admission is free.
For more information on Valence Projects and featured artists, contact Josiah David Jones at www.valence.studio.