Art, films? Store pictures aren't moving

Sanjay Vora must have been a solid employee as well as a talented artist. Vora’s former employer, Charlottesville’s art video rental joint, Sneak Reviews– an establishment seriously lacking in art-ready bare walls– made some space available for Vora’s latest, opportunistically titled exhibit, “Love and a Video Store.” 
The exhibit’s title promises a bit of romance and a bit of quirk, both fine qualities for a video store exhibit. While Vora does deliver on the promise, he does so in a literal and perfunctory way. Vora offers exactly one painting which takes romance for a theme and one painting of Sneak Reviews itself. (The latter, “The Video Store,” repays the venue for exhibit space just as it cheekily leaves the building’s other businesses off the end of the frame.) 
Having dispensed with titular obligations, Vora goes on to include work that ranges widely and reveals an artist with clear interests though not quite settled into any one style.
A subset of the work on display hints at one direction Vora might take. Works like “The Kitchen” and “The Bedroom” render empty rooms straightforwardly, with a limited pallet of sickly colors and with a smeared blurriness, as if the painting were covered with a patina of jelly. Such paintings suggest that Vora has an interest less in straight composition or detail than in looking for opportunities to create great blocks of dark, drab, or pale colors.
Art connoisseur Emmett Boaz sees a clear connection between these works and the theme. “While I haven’t yet seen the show myself,” he says, “kitchen and bedroom are the essence of love. Maybe these paintings belong in the exhibit more than might appear at first glance.” 
With “In Line,” Vora is clearly experimenting with painting surfaces (it’s on a block of wood with a board nailed directly to the painting surface). Here again, however, Vora sets down an unnaturally linear and symmetrical cityscape which serves, largely, as a boundary between two big blocks of dusky blue.
If Vora does not take this pathway, he leaves himself plenty of other directions, from the unreconstituted pointillism of “Church in Bornholm, Denmark,” to the pale-white minimalism of “As I Let Her Go.” The warm and unashamedly romantic title piece, hung in the most conspicuous place available (above the stairwell), has surely drawn some positive comments from customers, but it’s an anomaly in this exhibit. 

Sanjay Vora’s “Love and a Video Store” runs through July at Sneak Reviews. 2244 Ivy Road. 979-4420.

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