Innocence of Sexuality

Posted by Zara Zeitountsian | Fri Dec 16th 2005 4:48 p.m.

Los Angeles - Black Maria Gallery announced the opening of a new exhibition, entitled “Innocence of Sexuality.” Featuring new and recent works by eight Los Angeles-area artists, the exhibition will open on January 14, 2006.

“As playful and oxymoronic as the title of the show may sound, there is in fact a serious side to it,” said Black Maria owner Zara Zeitountsian. “First, it’s a nod to certain essential freedoms, particularly considering that ultraconservative forces in this country seem dead-set on enforcing a puritanical set of conventions on the rest of us in social, as well as political and legal, terms. I think it’s important to take a stand, individually and collectively, against the blind demonization of sexuality, even at the risk of stating the obvious.

“In the main, however, the upcoming show is an invitation to the participating artists to delve into their psyches through the prism of sexuality,” Zeitountsian continued. “We wanted them to explore form and substance as informed by the sexual instinct, or rather to arrive at a purity of sexuality where creative and expressive energies are better understood.”

Samuel Saga, curator of Black Maria Gallery and an artist participating in the “Innocence of Sexuality” exhibition, commented on the religious undertow of common perceptions of sexuality. “For purposes of social control, Christianity and Islam view sexuality as a source of evil,” he said. “The religious mindset ignores the fact that sexuality is just another name for human expression, albeit a powerful one, and that it’s present in us the moment we’re born. At puberty it’s already yanked out of its ‘natural’ context and equated with sin, with unacceptable social behavior, obviously paving the way for all sorts of psychological issues. Our upcoming show is a tribute to the child-like in the sexual. It’s a celebration of the fact that an instinct which finds its ultimate fulfillment in the act of sexual consummation is also a hugely dynamic factor in all aspects of our lives.”

Saga added that to illustrate the age-independence of the theme of sexuality, the upcoming show will feature works by an eight-year-old painter, the youngest artist ever to participate in a Black Maria Gallery exhibition.

“Innocence of Sexuality” will kick off on Saturday, January 14, at 7 PM, and will remain open until February 9, 2006.

Black Maria is located at 3137 Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 12 to 6 PM.
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