Michael Max McLeod's Misc. Romance and Jenna Duncan's Grief: Sukiyaki Open Tonight at Eye Lounge

A pair of burgeoning local artists will debut their first-ever solo shows tonight at eye lounge, and the subject matter in their respective exhibitions is somewhat unique, to say the least.

Hookups and breakups are the heart of Michael Max McLeod's Misc. Romance and Jenna Duncan's Grief: Sukiyaki, both of which will hold their opening receptions at the downtown Phoenix gallery during August's Third Friday.

McLeod, a local photographer and recent graduate of ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, created a stunning series of snapshots depicting the strangers he met via sex and dating websites. 

The various Internet lotharios he encountered along the way were willing to pose for some extremely candid photographs for the show (on display in eye lounge's East Gallery), including a few freaky shots in the buff or while wearing spandex fetish outfits. 

The results are both revealing and ridiculous, providing a voyeuristic look into the private lives and lonely hearts of those looking for love online. Some subjects are at their most vulnerable, baring both their body and soul to McLeod's camera while posing in some especially compromising positions.

The embarrassing poses of Misc. Romance give way to the sorrowful confrontations and abandonment issues present in Jenna Duncan's exhibition Grief: Sukiyaki, which will be on display in eye lounge's West Gallery.

It's an interactive mix of multimedia and mixed media that includes video of a kimono-clad Asian woman alternating between uttering mournful accusations like "Do you expect me to walk away?" at patrons and singing Kyu Sakamoto's 1960s Japanese pop ballad "Sukiyaki."

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Part of her ongoing Hystrionics series, which portrays women experiencing various psychological meltdowns, the work is laden with emotion and charged with sadness. In her artist's statement, Duncan says that it's subject "has been abandoned and reacts in an emotional way."

"This sadness, anger and grief becomes projected outwardly to the viewer, and 'follows' him or her around as the viewer navigates the gallery room," Duncan states. "My intention is that with this sort of 'entrapping,' the viewer will be more engaged and the emotional intensity of the singer's words is deepened."

The opening receptions for Michael Max McLeod's Misc. Romance and Jenna Duncan's Grief: Sukiyaki will be held from 6-10 p.m. tonight at eye lounge, 419 East Roosevelt Street. Admission is free.

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