Future Shock

Flying cars, matching unitards and the moon base have yet to happen — and we live in 2009. What happened to the futuristic world promised by almost 100 years of science fiction? Are we too prosaic and tied to the past to achieve our cosmic destiny? Maybe the bulk of humanity is earthbound, but there are visionaries among us who create worlds unfettered by the mundane reality of now. Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the new exhibit at the Philip Slein Gallery (1319 Washington Avenue; 314-621-4634 or www.philipsleingallery.com), features work by nine such artists who explore the outer horizons. Curator Joseph R. Wollin uses the rubric of Sci-Fi Ab Ex to describe their work, meaning "science fiction abstract expressionism;" these are painters who imply alien worlds and fractured dimensions without resorting to the representational style of Roger Dean (not to knock Mr. Dean at all). Emilio Perez's a different time of day, for example, is a pulsating knot of ribbon-like shapes writhing outward from the canvas, summoning the grisly biological eructations of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira and the exhilaration of the hyperspace leap from Star Wars. Oliver Warden's Caldera is similarly exciting but completely different, a cosmic portrait of overlapping planets moments from collision that crackles with Jack Kirby-esque energy and drama. Is it the moment of universal collapse, or the primordial chaos of interstellar creation? Rarely do group shows seem so unified in their outlook, as if all the artists were facing the same direction but seeing different views. Splinter of the Mind's Eye opens with a free public reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 5. The show remains up through Saturday, July 18, and the gallery is open every day except Sunday and Monday.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: June 5. Continues through July 18, 2009