Provocative Photography for your Valentine’s Pleasure

By Editorial Team on February 12, 2010
What better way to spend your Valentine’s weekend than with images of sex, death and forest frivolity?
Grab your date du jour and head over to the Evolve Urban Arts Project’s opening reception for Orchestrated Misbehavior, featuring photographer Erica Riccardell, MFA, Saturday, February 13th from 4-7pm. The Project space is located in the Pierce School Lofts at 1375 Maryland Avenue, NE, in the H Street Arts and Entertainment District.
Orchestrated Misbehavior stems from Ms. Riccardelli’s penchant for carefully arranging her pictorial components into fanciful tableaux vivants. Born in Germany, this self-described “army brat” spent most of her formative years transferring between her father’s multiple postings throughout the U.S. On the long car rides spent driving from one “home” to another “home”, she passed time by gazing at the landscape whirring by, imagining herself as a princess, or a damsel imbued with magical powers. With a self-described “fondness for the absurd”, Ms. Riccardelli now brings these daydreams to reality by inserting herself into engaging juxtapositions that simultaneously reflect her dark humor and romantic aesthetic.
This exhibition includes images from two ongoing series of work. Migration is a Promise posits that species’ biological impulse to migrate creates a form of order in an often chaotic world – a form of order which “promises” the continuation of life. To investigate this behavior, the artist began her own migration, traveling into the forest where she becomes the protagonist in ritualized performances caught on film. The second series, Petite Mort/e, examines the subtle ironies in language used to describe human biological processes involved in both the beginning and end of life. Petite mort (“little death”) is a French phrase used to describe the physical and mental characteristics of an orgasm. Here Riccardelli toys with the idea that the moment of orgasm, like the moment of death, is an instant when we slip away from conscious reality. Using a smattering of props, a 4×5 camera and her own body as a corpse, she creates staged, post-mortem images of women passed (or petite morte) in scenes ranging from made-for-TV dramatics to the darkly humorous.
Erica Riccardelli: Orchestrated Misbehavior runs February 6 through March 27, 2010. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 1 – 4pm. Other times are available through appointment. The Evolve Urban Arts Project enriches the lives of residents, neighbors in the H Street Community, and Washington, DC at large by providing free exhibition space to artists based in the metropolitan area.