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Naked or Nudes: Magnus Johnstone's "Erotica"

(Check out a NSFW slideshow of photos from the "Erotica" opening reception.)

A question of terminology presents itself at "Erotica" the new show at Domy Books of drawings by Magnus Johnstone. This series is unified by, among other elements, a subject that could be described either as "female nudes" or "naked ladies." They cavort with dolphins, order drinks at a bar, coo with frogs, play the piano, take the helm of a pirate ship, fornicate with an octopus, and pleasure themselves before an audience of squirrel monkeys.

A reception for the show on Saturday drew many of Domy's regulars: drawers and scribblers, fans of artful kitsch, and connoisseurs of stuff that blows your mind.

The naked ladies are uniformly buxom, adventuresome, and game. Two of the drawings are accompanied by finished paintings: Johnstone considers the drawings as only studies toward the paintings, in which cross-grain parallel slashes of paint render the figures obscure, almost invisible, a method he calls "Junglism."

Domy is just the right venue for Johnstone's "Erotica," a place where the comics, the books of photography and design, and the toys will prompt the visitor to ask again: Is that a naked lady or a female nude? Domy has featured a few works by Johnstone in earlier shows, and they currently carry two of his zines.

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