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‘Passion’ shines through in new RAA exhibition

The Rockaway Artists Alliance held a party last weekend at its sTudio 6 headquarters at Fort Tilden in honor of its new exhibit, Passion Red, hung just in time for St. Valentine’s Day.

The exhibit features works of art celebrating love, and the predominant color was, well, red. And pink, and magenta, and vermilion, and crimson, and scarlet.

RAA Board member Denis Macrae even framed a nuclear image of his heart - he has a touch of arrhythmia - all spectral red, yellow and purple. Flanking it were more conventional photos of his Jamaica Bay sunset and a flag-draped podium with a much larger flag making up the background, taken at the Addabbo inauguration.

Indeed, judging from the poetry that was read at the party, patriotism got nearly as much play as romance, though one gentleman did sing an hysterically funny poem about “The Pork Chop.”

But the artwork itself did focus on affairs of the heart - and other organs. Among other artwork on display were a red basket of red fruit by Geoff Rawlings; Esther Grillo’s “Pop Feet,” a sculpture of feet with toenails painted a whimsical red; Janet Dever’s lush “Hibiscus and Red Bougainvillea;” and Dever’s “Quiet Streets of Venice,” where a gondola waits serenely on a canal, empty save a red cloth - the one spot of hot color - draped over it.

Kevin Callaghan’s charming “On Bended Knee” shows an elderly couple in a meadow - the man kneels sweetly as he offers a bouquet. Renee Lee Rosenberg was represented by “Autumn Leaves” and “Metal Passion,” whimsical brooches inspired by the rubescent fall colors of the Japanese maple. Jenowade DeCardo Lewis had three small and exquisite works, “Fleeing The Wounded,” “Passion” and “Painfully In Love,” two small paintings splashed with shimmery copper paint each adorned with a single bleeding heart, and a collage featuring a sliver of a photo of the artist in a corner.

An artist with the intriguing name of Callie Danae Hirsh had three just as intriguing works on display. “What If...” is a woman’s torso made of hundreds of red and pink and magenta dots, while “Release” looks somewhat reproductive, all red and pink amoebas and squiggles and bud shapes, while the last painting shows a seascape of happy pink and red creatures with bright green seaweed.

M. Elliott Killian’s “Lily of the Amazon” shows vigorous tiger lilies and yellow flowers like anemones. His “Red Sky Over Roxbury” is a beach sunset watched by what seems to be a mermaid on the rocks, while “Bleeding Hearts” is an arch of bleeding heart flowers, their pink and red seeming to melt like candy into the watery green background.

Mary Meade’s charming “Friends Forever” shows two little girls becoming best friends. The pretty, doily-like red pattern in the background echoes the red puffed sleeves of the little dark-haired girl.

Anne Hourigan’s “Organic I, II and III” are somewhat abstract works that recall internal organs, though not in any kind of unpleasant way, and Esther Grillo returns with her sculpture “Ray’s Back.” A woman’s plaster head and torso face the wall and her hollowed out back is filled with red wires and chicken wire mesh, as if her vulnerability has been exposed to the world.

Matt Turov’s “Human Equation” shows two embracing figures in vibrant pop art colors, and Geoff Rawling returns with “Ocean Red,” which shows a woman’s torso in shades of red blending into a swirl of red clouds that recall the giant red spot on Jupiter.

Mary Ann McEvoy’s has two small quilts, “Cathedral Window” and “Flag Wall Hanging,” the latter full of stars, stripes and flags. Pat Studio’s “Genesis 2002” shows two lovers, the woman in a flaming red dress, while Debbie Taphouse’s “Tropical Flowers” is a tondo of a vase of madly tropical blooms. Ripe purple plums lie at its base. In Seddio’s “Waiting,” all you can see of the woman is her red dress, her hair, and a snatch of a blue wrap. In his “Red Lace,” a woman’s face peers mysteriously from behind real Venetian blinds topped with a strip of red lace. The window frame is painted red. Then, on a wall all by itself is the gallery’s American flag, each star covered with an “I LUV NY” button.

The “Passion Red” exhibit remains on display through March 10 at the Rockaway Artists Alliance, sTudio6 Gallery, Fort Tilden, in the Gateway National Recreation Area. Hours are Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Self-guided tours of outdoor sculpture can be viewed daily from dawn to dusk. Call 474-0861.

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