May 2005 #56
February 10 - March 5
The Shooting Gallery
San Francisco, CA
Salvador Dali and Andre Breton remain safely, if posthumously, at the helm of the surrealist movement, but there's still room for some new leadership. At San Francisco's Shooting Gallery in February four artists - Shawn Barber, Eric Joyner, Lee Harvey Roswell and Nathan Spoor - seized the reins and steered surrealism in a lively, modern direction with the exhibition Cine Delirio. All of the essential ingredients were present: chance meetings, sensuality, the terrain of dreams, and some opinionated messages about issues plaguing the world today.
Cine Delirio asks whether surrealist art is a form of escapism from reality or rather in all the mumbo-jumbo of its imperfections, leaps in reason and organic trajectory, the most telling manifestations of the human mind's inner workings. Barber's work, densely populated by babies, tackled what the artist perceives as children's powerlessness to change a world so tainted by gluttony, consumerism, and complacency that it cannot be improved. Joyner, a true Dali devotee, explored the most remote horizons of fantastical landscapes of space travel and cities in the clouds. Lee Harvey Roswell's portraits offered an unabashed spin on sexual desire and power dynamics.
And Nathan Spoor, the abstractionist of the foursome, concocted a dazzling "Imaginarium" of fertile, deco-esque shapes and curves emerging from dark backgrounds. Taunting us with taboo, sugar-coated expressions that attacked every nerve ending of human desire, Cine Delirio was a cabinet of curiosities, a foray into the forbidden, and a victory of the imagination over quotidian duties and moral boundaries.