Bobby and I stopped into Wacko’s yesterday to hunt for some holiday gifts and–boy–was that a bad idea. The place was a mad house!! The line to pay stretched the entire store, coiling in aisles, ending all the way back at the entrance to La Luz de Jesus gallery. Although we abandoned ship and didn’t buy the cute plants you grow in cans, we did find that they have a really cool show in the far back of La Luz that showcases Robert Xavier Burden‘s huge pop culture portraits.
The show–entitled Toy Box–has been up at La Luz since the top of December and is staying through the month’s end. Burden is an artist from San Francisco and he creates huge (literally huge) pop culture portraits that feature and showcase the inspiration, which are usually toys. They penetrate painting and sculpture and mixed media practices as his pieces are not just one thing: some are a giant painting with an action figure built into it, some are paintings with characters lining the frame, some use figures as an integral part of the piece’s concept. It’s cool how he ties them in and it’s a similar approach to what Tim Biskup did for Former State.
Another really remarkable item with his work is that they are super bright, detailed, and beautiful. Extremely similar to the work of Kehinde Wiley but–you know–with people like Slimer and Captain American as subjects, the backdrop of each piece are elaborate tapestries of sorts. Some of them–like the Slimer above–even tell their own stories, sharing related imagery in the backdrop of the portrait’s subject. These details (like the characters embedded in the works) make his large pieces even more amazing.
The show features the work shared here along with a large group of pieces that are smaller portraits, lining the South wall of the show. The pieces on view are all for sale and–with exception to the smaller ones–come at a pretty penny. If you have a spare hundred or thousands of dollars and lots of wall space, buy one of these pieces as they are really, really wonderful.