The Hive Gallery and Studios: A Thriving Art Community
By Genie Davis
Founded in 2005, The Hive Gallery and Studios remains the perfect spot to showcase such a buzzy, witty, and out-there show. Pop surrealism is often the artistic focus here. The gallery packs its two-gallery space for solidly curated group shows, and encourages visitors to check out the studios of the 25 working artists exhibiting on the ground floor or working in second floor studio space, as well as the items available at a shop that carries artist-made goods. A bulwark of the DTLA art scene, and the oldest gallery in the downtown historic core, the Hive is also a community arts hot spot, offering classes, screenings, and special events along with its monthly art shows.
The Hive has a zany, light-hearted vibe that’s accessible while being just a little bit wild and crazy – note the giant bees suspended from the ceiling. The long running gallery will celebrate its 12th year in April, with owner and artist Nathan Cartwright proud of the evolution of the space, which began with an emphasis on working artist studios, and is now focused on its gallery space along with exhibition studios.
Just closed and curated by Ellen Schinderman, the 5th iteration of Stitch Fetish “sewed up ” a dazzling collection of crocheted, stitched, and knitted erotic art. The show included pillows, portraits, dolls, cloth sculptures, and quilts, and a humorously ribald approach to sexuality.
Schinderman notes that the act of stitching itself is thought of as a female occupation, making the art work here the perfect counter balance to the erotic subject. “Erotica shows tend to be very male fantasy oriented…(with) perfected idealized women, very graphic sex. And so this show, between my point of view and the medium, is a show of erotica that is so not terribly dirty and more amusing than sexual in a lot of ways.” She adds that “…what’s so great about this show is that it captures the joy and silliness of sexuality…”
Participating artists included: Adipocere, Pat Ahern, Abbey Aichinger, Bee Listy, Mark Bieraugel Ashley V Blalock, Aubrey Longley Cook, Olisa Corcoran, Crochame, amy dame, Spike Dennis, Jess De Whals, Tisha Dolton, Stewart Easton, Nicole Filiatrault, Lyndsie Fox, Giddy Girlie, Peg Grady, Leonard Greco, Erika Hagberg, Ashford Harrison, Lori Herbst, Annette Heully, Neroli Henderson, Theo Humphries, Daphne Jamet, Kate Just, Alexander Kain, Billy Kheel, Michelle Kingdom, Eva Kitok, Emma Rose Laughlin, Annie Layne, Rebecca Levi, Kathryn Lollar, Kirsten Lund, Ashlee Marcus, Tori Marsh, Nico Mazza, Robin Mcgeough, Melarise,Matthew Monthei, Carie Musik, Emma Nelson, Karin O, CATH Orain, Jennifer Porter, Carol Powell, Julie Sarloutte, Ellen Schinderman, Hinke Schreduers, Eriko Shimizu, Kathryn Shinko, Ashley Catharine Smith, Denise Sullivan, Tamara Tolkin, Sophie Tomlinson, Paty Vilo, and Meghan Willis.
With over 100 pieces from these 60 artists, Stitch Fetish 5 offered a wide range of rich, dimensional work that subverts the fabric-art-form with wit and style. Take Theo Humphries “Cats Watching Porn” which uses a precise, realistic vintage needlework pattern to show these kitties glued to the screen. Beading is the medium in “Climax” by Erika Hagberg, in which the eroticism of the woman reaching the titular object is enhanced by the texture of the piece itself.
Also inherently tactile is “Annie Loves Blow Jobs,” by Paty Vilo, a plush sculpture, in which the coupling critters exhibit amusingly lewd satisfaction.
As a tribute to Carrie Fisher, “Slave Leia” by Lori Herbst is a needlework delight, dark and layered, sexy and powerful, deeply dimensional. There’s a different kind of power in Leonard Greco’s “Adam,” a doll created of painted canvas and rag cloth, with embroidery floss and poly-fill stuffing. Taking the male form to a salacious grandeur, the poignantly wistful face of the doll belies his ripped chest and large and visible, yet hardly crude, genitalia.
Overall the exhibition formed a potent continuation of the gallery’s annual naughty needlepoint show, which takes the crafting of art seriously while taking its subject on the light and engaging side.
There should be more visual honey waiting with The Hive’s TBA schedule for the rest of 2017. The Hive is located at 729 S. Spring in DTLA.