Friday, May 9, 2008

Playthings: Trendiest Show On The Block

Playthings, a show whose advertised theme is that of whimsy and the spirit and function of toys, seems to include all the most popular trends in art within the past 10 years---video game imagery, crafting, low quality digital print outs, large-scale paper cut outs, fashion emblems and, of course, vaginas. This is not necessarily a criticism, but definitely a distracting aspect of the overall exhibition. Somewhere in all this trendiness, the theme gets a little lost.

Ryan Cecil Smith's paper sculptures

Looking like its straight out of Bedrock, a Prehistoric Jukebox

The Metro Gallery may have been a hard space in which to form a full vision of this show, it is a little unfriendly in its harsh divide of space and long, high walls. Perhaps if the walls were hung salon-style, the place filled, overwhelmingly with color and toys, it would have felt less disjointed and more like a toy store--more whimsy than trend.

Pam and Meghan Clay in front of Meghan's paper wall installation

Alex Worthington's fashionable, fake food...previously featured but we love it.

Much of the work appears to be that of the curator's friends and acquaintances, a larger pool of artists would have undoubtedly brought a freshness to the exhibition, where it felt some pieces were shoe-horned into the theme. None of this is to say, however, that the work included in not interesting or cool, because all of it is very "cool" and many of the pieces are very engaging. It just goes to show that if there is this much talent at arms length, why not reach farther? This was Levin's first time curating--a tremendous undertaking--her exhibition was a solid start from which she can only improve.

Dina Kelberman's digital print outs

Curator/Artist Stefani Levin in front of her sewn piece