'A Searing Lesson Every Girl Should Know'
Love is the object of Tami Demaree's devotion, the axis at which everything spins, the departure point and the destination, to be won and lost and won back again. "A Searing Lesson Every Girl Should Know," the LA artist's first major solo exhibition, gently prods love at every angle and from the point of view of the forsaken girl who is equally perplexed by, and hopeful about, love's possibilities. Demaree teases out its attendant emotions to absurd effect using an array of materials (acrylic, glitter, neon, contact paper, googly eyes, and so on) that are often accompanied by sly and sweet slogans and puns such as "I love you like ping loves pong" and "You're my favorite kiss of my whole life." The overall feeling is that of a nose tweak and a wink punctuated with a smirk and the occasional sucker punch that's wrapped in a rainbow ever aching with the possibility of finding and holding on to true-blue die-for-you love. Although many artists attempt it, combining text and image is difficult to pull off and very few have the facility or intelligence to do it well. Not so Demaree. Her sincere visual and textual puns have just the right amount of irony and stop just short of being too coy. One example is painted directly on a gallery wall: "On the phone you said your love was flaming, and in my head I cheered go Flaming GO!!!" It takes a few beats before you notice the neon pink flamingo plugged into the wall next to it. If, as Cervantes wrote, love is "the greatest god and greatest pain," Demaree keeps love in the realm of greatest great, however transitory it may be. (Katie Kurtz)
A SEARING LESSON EVERY GIRL SHOULD KNOW
Steven Wolf Fine Arts, through Jan 28, Mon.-Sat., noon-6 p.m.
49 Geary, Ste. 411, SF. (415) 263-3677, www.stevenwolffinearts.co