“Advice and Portraits”

Maria Forde's touchingly awkward sketches of her friends, done in pencil and watercolor, people the walls at Needles & Pens. She began these portraits as a way to gather advice about how to live her life, but the bromides (“Gray hair is a crown of glory,” “Please recycle”) fall flat when compared to her accompanying project, “Longview.” In this zine, available at the show, Forde sketched the denizens of her grandmother's retirement home, and here we find real wisdom. Dona Plummer, 88, wearing a rose-embroidered sweater, tells us that “everyday cooking can make a family happy,” and offers a recipe for pie crust. David Pray, 84, says, “Whether you are working or not, you need to think of other people and not be self-centered.” Feel-good art for depressing times.
April 9-26, 2009

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