Hot Box

You don't have to read Afterglow this way, but it's so much sexier

For those who haven’t noticed the nipples on our covers nor read the ensuing complaints, SFR is a little too concerned with sex. But in a world in which food and even freedom are laden with sexual innuendo, we’re not off the mark. Appropriately, we slid on down to a place called Box Gallery for a show titled Afterglow.

Albuquerque-based artist Ted Laredo creates geometric pieces, usually spin-offs on cubes—let’s call them boxes—using combinations of acrylic paint, glass micro beads and cotton twill tape. None of the boxes—or elaborate extensions thereof—are just boxes and, as in life, no two are the same.

“2-D Blue Room” looks like Laredo gave geometry the Matisse treatment, sort of a freehand (and thus not realistic architecturally) outline of an interior room. This piece gets down directly on the wall, using cotton twill tape laced with glass micro beads. “Orange Honeycomb Cell” creates an outlined space and a hexagon base with varied and difficult angled ceilings—art’s answer to the G-spot. A taut yellow box that leans to the right, “Necker’s Cube” seems sleek and agile above its galvanized steel pane; it knows how to move. “Red Truncated Honeycomb Cell” has high-angled ceilings, but also general symmetry and order. So please, take off your socks and, when you go, don’t leave your things.

“Pink Honeycomb Cell (Study),” on the other hand, is peculiar, pink and impossibly small, certainly less decisive. Its angles are numerous and curved, appearing to constantly quiver. Next to it, “Blue Honeycomb Cell on Gray” looks similar but has larger, straighter lines and a steel casing, reserved but not as queer as its neighbor. “Blue Necker Cube” is the most traditional cube. This libidinous box is direct and knows what it wants.

Less traditional shapes do, too.

A slalom of a tryst, “Megapolygon” appears to be a ménage à cinq of repeating colorful hexagons sprawled out on nine steel panes. Neon yellow, blue, orange, green and purple hexagons overlap and even swap out sides of color, their intersections held together by tiny silver magnets. A lot is going on, but the colors know how to share.

A number of the pieces are solid colors within frames, variegated only through the changing light cast on their glass micro beads. The series of raised “mono-diptychs” are mostly straightforward and soft, boxes on which you can rely. Judging from the self-portrait of Laredo upon entering the gallery—simply aviator sunglasses painted over with blue acrylic and glass micro beads—he only has eyes for “Cobalt Blue Halo,” a shiny blue canvas in a blue frame. But there’s love for all types, even “Napthol Red Mono-Diptych.” It’s a velvety red, acrylic canvas, the size of a big palm, rimmed with strange bumps.

Laredo requests, as any experienced partner would, that the works be viewed in natural light. Since they are glow-in-the-dark, this is possible both day and night.

We viewed this exhibition in the morning and at the exhibition’s nighttime opening, when the lights were turned off—and, like sex, anytime is good.

Seeing the pieces in the soft light of morning, you know they look good without makeup. Additionally, the glass micro beads shimmer in the light, creating a sweaty, scintillating effect.

At night, the pieces dress up in glow-in-the-dark gear for an erotic, glamorous appeal. Each geometric outline becomes the only extant object in the room. And yes, there’s still afterglow even when it’s too dark to see.

The pieces follow similar guidelines—straight lines, connected sides, color—but all are markedly different. Small differences are everything, and perhaps that’s the point. It’s what you see and how you care to see it—we prefer sexily.

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.