Rochelle Feinstein, a painter who also works in video and photography, presented an exhibition consisting of a diptych composed of a fresco measuring 24 by 18 by 11⁄4 inches and a similar-size light projection; an acrylic-on-Cibachrome-on-canvas work; and a massive six-panel oil-on-canvas creation that covered all of the main gallery’s walls.
Feinstein began this large centerpiece, titled Love Vibe, in 1999 and expanded on it this year. It consists of six 74-by-74-inch panels containing speech balloons on green backgrounds with sections of dingy yellows and white. The phrase “Love Your Work” is contained within the cartoony bubbles, often backward, truncated, or slashed in half by the edge of the canvas.
The comedic effect was instantly apparent. The ultimate—often left-handed—compliment is so ubiquitous as to be empty of meaning. It could be viewed as faint praise or as a sly insult aimed at a generically talented recipient.
In Love Your Work (1999), the smaller fresco panel featured the same painted phrase and was accompanied by a green square projection of the same size. As with the larger panels, the colors here suggested the movie-industry practice whereby actors perform in front of a saturated green background onto which the “action” will later be digitally placed.
In Love (2002), the phrase has been whittled down to “Love” itself, a word now denuded of both corniness and passion by the artist’s clever inversions. Feinstein invites the viewer to step in front of her green screens, which, though solid and mostly blank, are also fertile fields that might engender any narrative. Or perhaps not.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 96.