The Art of Harold's End
paintings by Cherry Hood
May 3 - May 25, 2005
Renowned Australian artist Cherry Hood brings her eight haunting portrait-originals to Varnish this month. Featured in the JT Leroy novel Harold's End, each 6ft x 4ft figurative watercolor and pigment painting showcases to the point of exploitation, the gaze of the bruised adolescent. The portraits are remarkable partially because of the care taken in their execution... the kind of care usually lavished on happy, carefree boys and girls. But these are the gazes of the discarded, the gazes of those who at one time had no place to go, but luckily found that place, only to realize--like a character in a Dickens novel--that what looked like it might be home is actually a sort of prison.
Specializing in the adolescent boy, Hood works from live models and from her own photographs which focus on how the human body, especially the female body is translated into an image and represented in popular culture. "At work in my paintings is a seduction strategy. The most dominant of human instincts is desire, desire to know, desire to own and have, desire to save or keep, the subliminal desire for control and the subjective desire for the sensual or for beauty."
"When I first ran across the work of Cherry Hood I had the freeze of recognition," says JT Leroy. "In the streaks of her watercolors I saw my stories. That she is from the other side of the world geographically and psychologically is fitting, as is our discovery of one another. Her ability to breech the inner worlds of people locked within themselves is unflinching. In the eyes of her subjects, she mines the unspoken, unguarded moments, what lays beyond their layers of fortification. She nullifies the dismissive utterance, 'I can't relate.' Her work embodies the very texture of sensation, the taste of need, of heart, of loss, of survival."
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 7, 7-11pm with readings/performances from JT Leroy's work beginning at 7pm---Six Feet Under actor Ben Foster, who appeared in the Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, will read from Harold's End, Theatre Campo Santo-Intersection founder Sean San Jose, HBO's "Unscripted" Jennifer Hall, and Rock-legend Penelope Houston will read from this and other JT Leroy work. Copies of Harold's End will be available for sale at the opening!