Rob Licht
ValentineValentineSteel HeartHeart of GoldHeart of GoldAnatomy StudyHeavy HeartGold HeartGroup of Hearts
By aligning the origins of the Hallmark heart with the sexualized fetish imagery of the likes of the Venus of Willendorf, my work questions the innocence of the valentine tradition and the origins of that symbol which permeates our culture. I began with Anatomy of the Heart, a literal anatomical study from medical illustrations and preserved specimens and discovered that the ubiquitous symbol bears little resemblance to the actual organ. The smaller works that follow use either that anatomical form as the basis for a metaphorical expression relating to love or, they attempt to flesh out the common heart symbol in an attempt to realize its three-dimensional source. Heart of Gold could be seen as a play on the cliché but the craftsmanship of the velvet lined, heart-shaped steel box and the use of traditional gold leaf is a deliberate sanctification of the symbol, hinting at the Catholic origins of my inner valentine conflict. This is in contrast to the other works, which present the viewer with an irreverent take on the symbolism of love.