Larger Than Life at Colo Colo
The South Coast, a vaguely defined geographical area running from the left side of the Cape to the right side of Fall River, has a vibrant arts community. But make no mistake about it — it isn’t Brooklyn or Los Angeles, where a new painter pops up every week, either through arrival from another locale, or birth, or by stroke of luck. The South Coast is tight and familial and small. And a cultural commentator on that community with deep roots in it had a Herculean and formidable task to remain objective. Six degrees of separation? Not here, not possible.
So that said, I know both of the artists on display at the Colo Colo Gallery throughout much of November. Gallery owner and curator Luis Villanueva has a wonderfully formulaic approach to his exhibitions in which he pairs a two-dimensional artist (painter, printmaker, etc.) with one who works in three dimensions (sculptor, ceramicist, etc.). They do not know each other, and Villanueva, to the best of his ability, conceals their identities from one another until the last moment, like a matchmaker setting up a blind date.
The painter is Joe Loria, raised in New Bedford and now residing in Lafayette, California. In 1978, when I was a freshman at the long-defunct Swain School of Design, he was a senior. He and his closest classmate cohorts (who will only be identified as Mark L. and Scott R.) inspired us young‘uns, as they were filled with the worldly experience and aesthetic knowledge only understood by 20-year college boys. I say this without snideness — they were an inspiration.