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July 30, 2014

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Besmirching innocent imagery with ‘Past Time’

Image

Canadian artist Dave Barnes’ “Thoughtless Instinct,” part of the new Past Time exhibit at Trifecta Gallery through July 27.

Amid the vast assortment of children’s books is the usual crop of pictorial do-good tales, reappearing generation after generation, designed to engage young minds and kindle imaginations. But comes the day when you want to alter the landscape, add your own edge to the sunshiny world of friendly anthropomorphic characters and gleeful children. If only you were older and could draw.

The Details

Past Time
Through July 27; Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; free.
Trifecta Gallery, 366-7001. Opening reception July 5, 6-8 p.m.

Canadian artist Dave Barnes never forgot that desire. Now an established and impeccable illustrator, he revisits the nursery-time, picture-book settings to fill in the blanks, skewing the otherwise wholesome narratives. His solo exhibit at Trifecta Gallery, Past Time, features paintings on shaped wood: boxing foxes, hopping rabbits, little boys and birds on branches mixed with snippets of vintage newspapers and comics. The immaculately rendered compositions are augmented with typography, doodles and unexpected twists, turning the innocent and imaginative into the besmirched and surreal.

An owl with flaming wings preys on a little girl mouse in a pink dress skipping along with a basket of treats. A dark cloud hovers above a chirpy bird in a bonnet, perched on a branch with budding flowers. A boy surfs his sled across chimney smoke on a winter’s day, while a snowman in despair collapses to his knees, screaming “why.” As if offering a panoramic view of a lifespan, Barnes’ captivating wonderlands bring together idealism, foreboding and reality in the visual framework of collective nostalgia.

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