Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Sep 20th
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

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

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

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.