Hudson Marquez at La Luz de Jesus
Hudson Marquez, alumni of the art group Ant Farm and creator of The Cadillac Ranch, wants to make your sex life better—and it’s not by meds or therapy—it’s with his paintings of women’s stiletto high heel shoes. Marquez’ exhibition, “Welcome to Stiletto,” at La Luz de Jesus, consists of 17 paintings of high heels, and this visual Viagra is guaranteed to please. “High heels are about sex, and these stilettos are all about better sex; better, dirtier sex,” claims Marquez. This invitation to vice is done in the artist’s trademark tremulous style: Marquez’ attention fixed on female anatomy below the knee, the flesh and heels shaking with sexual anticipation and the promise of perversions realized. It’s a refreshing counterpoint to the slick aesthetic usually associated with contemporary depictions of sexual fetishes, and Marquez’ controlled expressionism kicks Freudianism to the door, shouting loud and proud, “I love high heels and I love painting them”.
According to the Midori Toybag Guide to Foot and Shoe worship, there are as many kinds of shoe lovers as there are shoes, and Marquez delivers the goods with a selection that ranges from hardcore fetish heels sporting locks and chains to high-heeled sandals that wouldn’t be too far out of place at a garden party held in a bedroom. This variety of form and intent keeps the show interesting; no need to play favorites, they all are.
But this is hardly news to high-heel fetishists, nor Marquez, who has painted stilettos consistently over three decades. Marquez’ paintings have always been calling cards for sin. His solo show at La Luz in 2015 was titled “Rhythm and Shoes” and featured paintings of high heels alongside portraits of notorious R&B stars like Mighty Mouse Jackson and Little Richard. There’s a consistent ribald New Orleans flavor to Marquez’ work, inspired by the artist’s youth in the French Quarter where he grew up with the convenient knowledge gained from observation that “high heels equal pussy.” But there’s more to the current paintings than such dirty doggery; these are tributes to women and their most beloved fashion necessity. Stiletto, highest heel, pump, slingback, strappy. These 50 shades of candy apple red make every woman a pinup, and how can that be bad?
Hudson Marquez, “Welcome to Stiletto,” February 3 – 26, 2017, La Luz de Jesus, 4633 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, (323) 666-7667