Arts & Culture


A Review of June Culp’s I love you-hoo at Current Space

Jack’s been getting Julia’s nipples hard for six months now. One night, after he was extra saucy with them, he turned to gaze into her eyes. Julia started back, waiting for him to say those magical three words. Instead, he said, “ I love you-hoo. Let’s go get some,” leaving Julia’s mind a swirling mess of emotions and questions. Similar awkward love encounters are explored in I Love you-hoo, June Culp’s exhibit of nine large paintings at Current Space.

According to the artist’s statement, I love you-hoo centers around the “humor and bittersweets of people potentially not being on the same page” while touching on “the type of tunnel vision you get from being too angry, arrogant, or aroused.” For example, when one expects to hear one phrase, but another is uttered resulting in confused emotions. Culp’s monochromatic paintings effectively depict mixed up emotions of love encounters in physical form through exaggerated body parts and cartooning techniques like expressive line quality and minimal color.

The woman’s body in “Phone Girl” is outlined with thick brush strokes, emphasizing sexual arousal with large, protruding nipples and pubic hair standing on end. Letters X and O take the place of her eyes and mouth, signifying mixed feelings. She has contorted legs, feet, toes, arms, and fingers, maker her seem like an illusion. This makes the viewer question the range of emotions presented, especially since she’s depicted talking on the phone. Is she hearing the truth or what she wishes were true?

“Phone Girl”

In “Bad Breakfast,” the female figure is similarly outlined except with real eyes and mouth. Sexual arousal is again emphasizes with the woman’s large protruding nipples and what appears to be a penis in the bottom, right corner, which belongs to an indiscernible figure behind the woman, consisting of eyes, eyebrows, and penis.

While the male figure and woman seem to be engaging in sexual intercourse, she is painting and eating at the same time, implying mixed emotions and intentions. Which activity is actually making her feel aroused? Is this male presence real or is he another illusion? Culp’s cartoon inspired paintings effectively communicate a range of human emotions, but ultimately suggest that sexual arousal and energy are no more important than creative outlets like painting and everyday activities like eating. In the end, Culp is showing the drama inherent in sexual relationships but that people have to consider their own self first, such as focusing on things that make them the happiest.

“Eat, Pray, Love”

Current Gallery
421 N Howard
Baltimore, MD 21201
February 7 – March 1

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