Review: Toys at Primary Gallery 

***1/2
click to enlarge Kurt Nettleton, "Kitch"
  • Kurt Nettleton, "Kitch"

Primary Colours's annual Toys exhibition marks its tenth anniversary this year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, local artists continue to keep the theme fresh and engaging, even after a decade. What always stand out in Toys are sharp, witty pieces that add a darker, more adult edge to the objects we once innocently enjoyed.

Kurt Nettleton's "Kitch" (sic) most embodies this approach. The piece is comprised of a magnetic blackboard with "I'M ____ING WITH YOU" written on it, and below the statement are an assortment of colorful, magnetic letters that are doubtlessly reminiscent of many viewer's childhoods. Although many innocent verbs that could be inserted to complete the statement, there simply aren't enough magnetic letters present to make a great variety of words, and the mind jumps to expletives in this case anyways.

Other pieces that stand out in this year's show include Martin Kuntz's bizarre painting of Santa Claus's face inside of a Wu Tang Clan emblem, which doesn't really make sense until you read the title, an oft-cited quote from Ol' Dirty Bastard: "WU IS FOR THE CHILDREN."

Stacey M. Holloway continues to explore plane crashes in her work, and her mixed media piece, "In & Out," is excellent. Two ornate, circular wooden frames each contain half of a model plane, so that one looks like a plane has crashed into it and the other appears to have a plane flying out of it.

Chris Fry's "Robin" is a sequence of many images of a disrobed action figure in various strange poses, cleverly repurposing the children's toy to a sort of voyeuristic and pornographic end.

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