Brooke Sauvage reviews "Megalomania Three" at Boyd Satellite Gallery.
Boyd Satellite Gallery
440 Julia Street
January 3 - March 2, 2015
In response to claims that his work was self-obsessed, Blake Boyd curated two gallery shows that revolved around his face. As the show’s title implies, “Megalomania Three” is the third iteration, except this time the attention is on his partner and fellow gallery owner Ginette Bone. It’s a sweet twist that rescues the otherwise juvenile concept and makes for fun viewing with portraits spanning an impressive breadth of styles from locally and nationally known artists.
Boyd’s own Ginette, a large-format Polaroid portrait, serves as the centerpiece of the exhibition. The photo shows every mundane detail of Bone’s face with no pretense of being artful or even flattering by traditional standards. In a culture otherwise dominated by airbrushed images and faux naturalistic selfies, it reads as a romantic gesture with each wrinkle and stray hair enlivening the portrait. With nearly 50 works, picturing Bone as everything from a Disney Mouseketeer to a sexy siren to an architectural monument, the best moments in the show are the ones, like with Boyd’s Ginette, where personal relationships come to the fore. Jack Niven presents a two-headed Bone peeking from behind one of his signature rainbow vortexes, whereas Niven’s wife, Marianne Desmarais, contributes Tesselated Bone, an abstracted structural piece composed of basswood and linen. It’s their daughter, Fern Desmarais Niven, whose simple drawing in paint, ink, and graphite on paper shows the gallery owner (literally) through a child’s eyes and reminds the viewer that these portraits are the varied visions of lovers, friends, family, and colleagues.
It’s a sentimental reading that might not hold up as well for an anticipated “Megalomania Four,” in which Bone hopes to see her dog, Cosmo, assume the role of muse. Until then, while she appreciates the varying forms of admiration, she doesn’t foresee living with them beyond the exhibition’s end in March. “I don’t think I could have them in my house,” she said laughing. It seems Bone isn’t much the megalomaniac after all.