Toy Stories at Havu Gallery: Out of the sandbox and into the world

Categories: Visual Arts

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Laurel Swab, "Head with Marbles," oil on panel.

Face it, we never really get rid of our toys after we grow up. They morph and change shape a little bit, but they're still toys, though perhaps imbued with a different, more complex meaning. As kids, we play because it helps us learn to navigate the world. As adults, we play at playing -- play becomes a way to get away from it all. It's only natural for toys to show up in contemporary artwork, as well, and the weight they can give our artistic statements -- from the idea of toys as artifacts or objects of delight to a more sobering view of them as symbols of the lost paradise of childhood -- is pretty astute.

Three sculptors (Esteban Blanco and the team of Phillip Maberry and Scott Walker) and three painters (Michael Brennan, Frances Lerner and Laurel Swap) share such observations in Toy Stories, which opened last Friday at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street. And, as the following pictures prove, the results are eye-popping.

Esteban Blanco

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"Barbie-Q," mixed media / kinetic.

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"Toy Blimp," mixed media.

Michael Brennan

"Suspension," oil on canvas.

"Bail Out," oil on canvas.

Frances Lerner

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"Working Woman," oil on panel.

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"Eulogy," oil on panel.

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