The view through the storefront window reveals a shadowy emporium of childhood wonder where one-of-a-kind toys stacked on pedestals are illuminated by twinkling lights from the floating circus tent above. Excited onlookers anticipate seeing a bountiful bazaar of cherished memories, but, upon closer inspection, they discover faded, worn, used and abused toys – eyes pleading, arms reaching out for comfort.
Enter a world where the childhood fantasy of fun and games melts into a melancholy menagerie of misfits with sad faces, exposing vulnerable interiors covered with faded facades. The nostalgic installation uses a vocabulary of vintage toys overstuffed with humor and metaphor, masking the gloomy overtones of a lonely childhood. Titles like “Beauty and the Beast,” “Listen Little Lady,” and “Big Show,” add layers to the current narrative from the artist’s life.
Artist Gina M’s installation “Under the Big Top” exhibits pieces from her series “Toy Box Kids,” created with a collection of amusing objects that resonate from her past. These well-worn found materials, rich with their own history, gravitate to one another in her studio like narrative magnets. Making these kids is reminiscent of her time alone behind the stage, where puppets were her friends.
“Under The Big Top”
The center of the gallery incorporates a suspended 9-foot wide by 4 foot high hooped canopy wrapped with strips of faded striped canvas interwoven with café globe string lights. Five assemblage sculptures standing 4-5 feet high parade around an 8-foot wide by 6-inch high round stage or riser. The gallery lighting theatrically spotlights each toy on display, showcasing the unique one-of-a-kind story it holds.