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Let Me Call You Sweetheart: Amy Meza Luraschi’s “Apt Noir”

I had the great pleasure of attending Amy Meza Luraschi’s exhibit “Apt Noir” at the Big Orbit Gallery this past weekend. Saturday night’s opening brought a nice crowd, but I couldn’t resist bringing my friend George back on Sunday to have a more personal glimpse, walking off brunch and feeding on the palpable emotion of Amy’s work. I trust I’ll go there again before the January 17th close date.

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When I cornered Amy on Saturday night, I commented to her on the mood of the exhibit. It speaks to the female, though it wouldn’t hurt for a man to decipher the black and white images, all of Amy, all with her face cropped out. And this is when she explained her theme.
She said she’d started a day with some car trouble and went to a garage where she was “Honey,” “Baby,” and “Sweetie”-ed to death. These are tags that most women would prefer were used exclusively in exclusive relationships, but we know that’s not the case. Amy found the experience somewhat demeaning, but it hit home a while later when she went to parallel park, usurping another driver who was making a u-turn to get the same spot. He got out of his vehicle and addressed her as “Little Missy,” and an exhibit was born.
Here is Amy in a majorette’s leotard, measuring her thighs and waist, with her leg warmer’s elastic indentations still marking her calves. Here she poses, ankles demurely crossed, pocketbook nearby. Here she is, sitting next to a wall with a crack in it, wilted vase of flowers on the table, coffee mug with imprinted heart in hand, heart shaped pin on her sweater. Here we see her sweeping used tissues from the floor in an attempt to leave the sorrow behind. Here she holds a letter, both hands touching it, with enough of her jaw showing to see that she’s looking the other way, ready to move on. In my favorite, she stands in fishnets and high heels, scouring a toilet with a dozen roses that said “Apology unaccepted” to me. The typewriter shot, looking for the right words to convey the emotion – haven’t we all been there?
Amy getting in the oven, Amy emerging from the laundry basket, Amy standing on stacked cans to get to the highest kitchen shelf; the images are haunting and somehow familiar. George commented that he liked the tension of a few of the shots, particularly the one with the letter in hand. Tension would be the right word.
Her rendezvous with the “mirrored self” is certainly a success, and this MFA student in the Visual Studies Department at the University of Buffalo and Lead Teaching Artist for CEPA Gallery’s Education Programs makes herself darling to her viewing public. There is a suggestion that before one calls her Sweetheart, they’d better earn it.
Big Orbit Gallery
30d Essex Street
Buffalo, NY 14213
716.560.1968
www.bigorbitgallery.org

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