Make More Love exhibit explores the many realms of affection

Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo Rachael Perry, director of the Percolator, 913 Rhode Island, is dedicating an exhibit to love, letting artists submit pieces on the various forms of love.

Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo Forever by Tony Peterson The Percolator, 913 Rhode Island, is dedicating an exhibit to love, letting artists submit pieces on the various forms of love.

Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo Grandmotherly

Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo inner

Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo Love by Paul Punzo. The Percolator, 913 Rhode Island, is dedicating an exhibit to love, letting artists submit pieces on the various forms of love.

If you go

Make More Love opens on Jan. 31 at Percolator Artspace, 913 Rhode Island, and will feature community artist submissions exploring their emotional lives through artwork as well as live performances by poet Karen Roberts and storyteller Dan Ward. The Final Fridays opening reception is open from 5 to 9 p.m. The exhibit will run until the beginning of March.

With an overwhelming response of more than 70 artist submissions to the Make Love exhibit at the Percolator Artspace last year, it was clear what they would have to do the following month of February.

Make More Love.

“And you can imagine in a space this size, we were hanging pieces ceiling to floor,” says Rachael Perry, board director of the Percolator, 913 Rhode Island St.

What do you think of when you hear the word “love”? Leaving it up to the community entirely to decide, people of all ages created and submitted their love-inspired works. They didn’t just receive visual art submissions; poets prepared readings of the sentiment and storytellers came to the opening night with love stories to perform.

“We were able to explore this theme in lots of different ways, and that was really cool,” Perry says. “When all that went on we knew that Lawrence needed something like this — a way to explore a topic that can be very complex.”

The show title is not only eye catching but also the ambiguity of theme expectations brought a wide array of scenarios that make people feel love in unique ways. That might be the love within a family, Perry says, or even the love between best friends. One piece is a photograph of an old couple who’d been in love their entire lives with a journal entry of her feelings following his death layered on top, depicting grief. This is an opportunity to use art to start these conversations.

Local artist Candice Davis created an oil painting a Native American grandmother with her granddaughter, a scene that resonated with her as she is a grandma. It’s important for children to have loving adults in their lives, she says. If not, they’re going to be lost.

“Being a grandparent is very powerful,” Davis says. “I’m a social worker so it resonates with me in that respect as well, just the interest of other cultures and how across the board we have so much in common including the love of family and children and grandchildren.”

The exhibit is much more than a tribute to a multi-layered feeling. As one might imagine, “make love” inspired somewhat racy contributions, all of which were thrown onto the walls of this public artspace. The show turned the Percolator into a safe space to address the physical representation of the affection.

“People were talking about things that I’ve never heard people share in public before,” Perry says. “It’s a place to say, you know, sex is good. And the more you’re open to not being afraid to talk about these taboo subjects, the more you can find out about yourself.”

Anne Burgess, one of the artists who submitted work to Make More Love, says she used to host a Valentine’s Day party where friends could come with different art mediums celebrating eroticism, so she was happy to see the Percolator’s exhibit. She contributed three humorous pieces, one of which is called “Fridge Orgi,” a set of interactive magnets that are naked men and women.

“I think the reason I do it is because I enjoy seeing this part of our private lives that almost everybody has,” Burgess says. “I think seeing that made it just a little more public and local.”

She doesn’t expect anyone to take her pieces seriously. In another piece, she did a line drawing of a sexual act between cartoon characters Popeye and Olive, one she expects people to not necessarily discuss, but find funny.

“I’m one of those people who think that public displays of affection is good for everyone,” she says. “This is kind of a way of saying, we all do this, we all love doing this and let’s celebrate it by having an art show.”

The Make More Love show opens the door to bring up other topics that aren’t easy to speak on. Perry, exhibit facilitator, remembers a 14-year-old who approached her weeks following last year’s exhibit to ask if the Percolator would consider devoting an exhibit to gay pride and gay rights in general.

“To me I was just so excited that somebody so young would come to us as a incubator for this really current topic,” Perry says. “I think that having a topic like this then allows people to be like, ‘OK my voice can be heard.'”

Right now, the Percolator has collected more than 30 pieces of artwork for the show, but are still accepting submissions from noon until 6 p.m. today. At the opening reception on Jan. 31, storyteller Dan Ward and poet Karen Roberts will have performance pieces starting at 6:30 p.m. The exhibit will remain open until the beginning of March, and throughout that time, keep an eye out for different love-related celebration workshops.

It’s an opportunity for people to let art and creation spark memories and really dive into the depths of their thoughts, Perry says. It’s an all-inclusive, well-rounded portrayal of all the ways to love.

“I know with ‘make more love,’ it just sounds like, ‘let’s get it on,’ Perry says. “But, well, there’s some of that too.”