The takeaway of Terry Furry’s work is aptly cradled within the oxymoronic title of his current solo show, Vulnerable Gods. The show is now on view at LuckyLo (previously Loakal, 560 2nd St., Oakland) as the space’s last show before it transitions into a full boutique. His large-scale oil paintings aim to intimately dismantle the contradiction between power and vulnerability, particularly in the context of masculinity. Furry (previously an Express employee) reimagines Greek mythology to approach the topic, depicting characters such as Narcissus, Icarus, Orpheus, and Adonis (the god of beauty) as sensitive, emotional, nude figures. Furry’s painting style is photorealistic but posterized, intentionally employing a limited gradation of tones with definition between each color. The technique produces figures that are sensual and relatable, yet subtly abstracted, maintaining a protective distance. Rendered that way, his subjects — who hold symbolically potent props such as crutches and electric guitars — form an impressive series of portraits that infuse sensitivity with power.
This year-long traveling exhibit in association with Motown the Musical (playing at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre from August 15 to September 30), chronicles over 15 years of Motown’s legendary artists by the Motown singer and visual artist herself.