June 15: Love & Equality at Yellow Peril Gallery
courtesy Yellow Peril Gallery
Friday night I went to the opening for the latest show at Yellow Peril that coincided with the beginning of Gay Pride Weekend across the country. The exhibit is a collection of alternative family portrait photographs with captioned quotes of the married couples reflecting on marriage. Love and Equality is an ongoing project by artist Natalie Grupposo. Same sex marriage is an ongoing debate in political arenas that frankly doesn’t belong there. Grupposo brings to Rhode Island visuals of couples that may be of the same sex, but are not being presented in a confrontational way. Despite an aim in its statement to bring attention to the gay marriage controversy, this show didn’t seem to be in your face. When I walked around the room, I felt happy and smiled. Perhaps this stems from the fact that I believe everyone has the right to be married or maybe it’s the fact that even though this is an ongoing important civil, it’s also been in the news for the last decade. Personally, I think it is more likely a reaction from the faces in the photos. My personal favorite in the room is of Germaine and Courtney of Providence, RI. These two women on their cushioned window seat holding their dogs, or children as I’m sure they are considered, just have strike me as sophisticated and happy. It’s a room full of happy loving people in portraits, but this one stuck with me. I’m sure it also had something to do with the added quotes under each image.
courtesy Natalie Gruppuso
I was told that some of the portraits were bought by their subjects, but it seems to me that the postcard set of the show is a more seductive purchase for those of us who are not familiar with the people in the photographs. Each frame is charged with an energy that differs from something aimed to provoke shock. I don’t think the show is any less important or strong because it is peaceful rather than radical, instead I think it makes the subject matter of love and equality more relatable to anyone walking through those gallery doors instead of just to one community.
August’s issue of Providence Monthly will feature the staff of Yellow Peril for the Superlative feature story. The gallery was awarded the title of “Most Thoughtful.” Even though at first, this may not be the immediate description for a young Providence based gallery, this is actually a perfect superlative the more you consider the gallery’s message, “We aspire to exhibit provocative and visually arresting artwork created specifically to ignite conversations long after viewers have left the building.” It becomes clear that this current exhibition is a reflection on that mission as well as provoking a thoughtfulness in the viewer long after they leave the gallery.