The new exhibit at the Tech Garden’s downtown gallery has a diverse roster of artists, considerable flexibility and a provocative title: The End of the World. There certainly are works dealing with end times in one form or another, but the display also presents acrylics depicting street scenes, a photo portraying industrial labor, and several pieces paying homage to vintage signs. The overall blend works nicely.
First, the show features art dealing with the Cold War era. Curator Steve Nyland brought in artifacts documenting that era: a sign for a fallout shelter and a second sign listing maximum capacity for a shelter area. Tim Riker’s watercolor touches on the specter of nuclear war, as it depicts a mushroom cloud just above a city.
There are also radically different pieces. Avery Harris, in a mixed-media work, interprets the proposition that cockroaches will survive any disaster. A text states that “when we are no more our spirit will live in the bodies of roaches.”
“The End of the F.$#ing World” by Christopher Mooney has an absurdist flavor. It shows a rat riding a skateboard, arms reaching out from a sewer grate to throw a bomb, and a woman firing an advanced weapon.
Evan Hunter reflects on threats to the environment. Her charcoal and graphite works range from “We All Live Downstream” to “Homeless Wildlife” and “Petrified Forest,” with its vision of creatures killed off.
The exhibition follows other directions as well. It displays Laura Canfield’s image of a statue that appears to honor the Virgin Mary, Antonio Massa’s documentation of a factory by focusing on one worker, and an image of a man sitting alone created by Dalgis Viera Alarcon.
The exhibit also displays acrylics by Sanlly Viera and Richell Castellon Ferreira. Viera depicts a small child in “Hope,” while a second work portrays both the Statue of Liberty and the Declaration of Independence.
City streets are a focus for Ferreira, who plays with light and a sense of proportion. “From the Deep” demonstrates his ability to transform an everyday scene.
The show also encompasses “Life,” a digital image by Erin Davies; “Rocket Chalk,” another of Jamie Ashlaw’s works referencing signs from decades ago; and Barbara Conte-Gaugel’s oil, “The Three Sisters, Oregon.”
Like many Tech Garden exhibitions, The End of the World hangs works with a science-fiction sensibility. Danny Glover’s “Waiter” depicts a subject who wears a bowtie and resembles the monster from the 1954 film Creature from the Black Lagoon. In the acrylic “Cybernaut,” Jessica Creel portrays a fearsome creature.
Look for Christophe Ennis’ bold and imaginative oil, “After the Fall.” It features a figure with a reptile’s head, some human features, and an alien baby.
Finally, fantasy art and media reports converge in regard to a noxious plant, the giant hogweed. Curator Nyland has several pieces in the show that envision the hogweed as a dire threat to humanity; one of them is “The Final Onslaught of the Giant Hogweed.” Moreover, several news articles have discussed this summer’s spread of the plant in upstate New York and other parts of the Northeast, noting that hogweed’s sap damages skin and eyes.
The End of the World is expansive rather than narrow; it doesn’t exclude works that have nothing to do with the potential end of our planet. Beyond that, the show, which runs through Sept. 21, provides exposure for a slew of local artists, making it definitely worth a visit to the Tech Garden, 235 Harrison St. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information, contact (315) 474-0910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.