Still time to be Astonished at Hallwalls
blog by Ben Kirst • October 05, 2011 @ 7:30am
Halloween is coming fast, and it’s a great time to celebrate the old-school weirdness that informed the pop-culture dreams of our parents and grandparents—stuff like rocket ships, creepy robots and skeletons. Zombies and vampires get a little lame sometimes, eh?
You can revel in these increasingly esoteric treats with a visit to “Tales To Astonish,” an ongoing exhibition by Canadian artists Donovan Barrow, Brandon Vickerd and Kevin Yates at Hallwalls (341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo). The show offers “...paintings and sculptures that distill low-brow and decades-old science fiction tropes into works that pay homage to their original sources while evading the trap of kitsch within which some of those original sources were found,” according to the exhibition notes. “Instead, their collected works are resonant with ambiguous mystery and drama.”
There’s some wild stuff here. Barrow and Yates put together a series of paintings and sculptures influenced by the forgettable 1980 Mike Hodges film Flash Gordon. Vickerd takes familiar pop culture figures and infuses them with “epic sentiments…the desolation of space travel as exemplified by a dead astronaut; the lonely heroism of the Silver Surfer’s vacated surfboard; the elemental fright and singular beauty of a ghost; and the oversized, menacing but undeniably wonderful emblem of a robot.” Because, when it comes down to it, being truly alone—lost in space, either as an abandoned spaceman or a untethered shade or a mindless automaton—is really more horrifying than any story about rage viruses or sexy bloodsuckers because Vickerd’s situations feel more personal and more real.
So when can you see “Tales to Astonish?” The show is on display through Friday, Oct. 28. The Hallwalls gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and is closed on Sunday and Monday.