Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 17th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Erotic Environment

AE_AbbieRabinowitz1A local artist’s work fits right in at Camouflage

Some art is made for gallery walls. It hangs unabashedly on vast expanses of white, unaffected by the emptiness of the space, as if it were designed to sit quietly in a row of other paintings. This is not the case with the erotic artwork of Abbie Rabinowitz.

Rabinowitz’s erotica belongs in the cozy comforts of someone’s home, hung over a couple’s bed, or, as she has recently discovered, on the walls of a sex shop: A selection of her erotic paintings, woodcarvings and thangkas recently found new life through exhibition at Camouflage, an adult sex store in Downtown Santa Cruz.

Erotica is one of Rabinowitz’s oldest and most developed styles. Inspired by Picasso’s erotic series, she began painting sexually charged pieces in her early twenties as a way to express her own experiences. Today, she still finds herself returning to eroticism to process her personal life, but also uses it to capture larger, universal realties of sexuality. “It’s a theme I go back to because it’s such a part of all of our lives,” she says. “It’s a basic, primal, emotional experience.”

In her 35 years of painting, Rabinowitz has grown an extensive resume of gallery exhibitions, but the shows have almost always featured her other, less steamy signature styles, like plein air landscapes, which she has been doing since she was a child growing up in rural Connecticut. In all those years, Rabinowitz rarely saw her erotica hung in public.

Even with Camouflage, she worried that some of the pieces were “too racy” and was dubious about including them. “But they wanted them and were really positive [about them],” she says of the storeowners. “Everything feels right in here. This is the kind of place my artwork should be hung, rather than on a gallery wall where it is kind of out of its element. [Here] it makes more sense and is more playful.”

AE_AbbieRabinowitz2Ambling through the store one November afternoon, Rabinowitz pauses at each piece to muse about its origins and significances. There is “Dancing Ganesha,” a fun, flowing depiction of the Hindu deity dancing in the nude, one of her many tributes to ancient Hindu and tantric art. There are also the more personal works, like a set of sex-on-the-couch paintings from when she was 23 and living in Paris with her Brazilian boyfriend, and “3 a.m.,” a rendering of two women, limbs entangled and entwined in a passionate kiss.

Through the tunnel (a rainbow of boas temporarily home to Rabinowitz’s “Cockeyed Susan”), past the pasties, massage oils and cock-shaped cupcake molds, we enter into the store’s 18 and up backroom where the more provocative of her art is hung. Most notable is “Bonobo Bliss,” a part of a series that captures the sexual escapades of the species known for casual sexual practices and a peaceful, loving society. The painting shows a pair of smiley chimps engaging in felatio (a part of the bonobo repertoire), and is appropriately placed in the middle of a large patchwork of dildos and vibrators. “Surrounded by these toys it gives [the piece] this habitat that works so well,” says Rabinowitz. “This art has found its environment.”

Both Camouflage and Rabinowitz are on a sex positive mission to promote the natural, beautiful and empowering qualities of sex and sexuality—for Rabinowitz, it’s by presenting it as sensual, primal, loving, spiritual and even humorous, but never graphic, distasteful or negative.

“There is so much negativity attached to our sexuality, and to me this,” she says, surveying her art and the store it has nested in, “this is beautiful.”

 


Abbie Rabinowitz’s work will be at Camouflage through Dec. 3. Visit abbierabinowitz.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.