It’s the devil in the details

Exhibit uses 3-D models and texture to create tension

Chris Millar’s Dave and Becca’s Sunday is made entirely of acrylic paint.
Chris Millar’s Dave and Becca’s Sunday is made entirely of acrylic paint.
Ufuk Gueray uses strong shades of neon blues and greens in his painting Plan A.
Ufuk Gueray uses strong shades of neon blues and greens in his painting Plan A.

Large, rectangular, surrealist panels are spread over the walls — scenes of vivid multi-colour chaos.

The moment I walked into Union Gallery to see Ufuk Gueray, Martin Golland and Chris Millar’s Strange Reverie, my attention went immediately to a large oil painting that made use of neon greens and blues — Ufuk Gueray’s Plan A.

What from a distance appeared to me as a bright and animated exhibit, when held under my critical lens, proved to conceal a darker message.

Gueray’s strong use of color and visible surface detail set in strange distortions of seemingly familiar situations, like how a racecar track can be disorienting at first.

He also makes use of perspective to put the viewer into a state of cognitive dissonance, placing objects in the foreground that confuse the viewer as to what object they’re seeing.

That piece soon set the tone of distress and bedlam for the rest of my time visiting Strange Reverie.

Walking around the room, I saw a trend in the snapshots of carefully constructed scenes done by Chris Millar and Martin Golland that are either in chaos or about to descend into chaos that reminded me of Salvador Dali.

Both Gueray and Golland elect to work with oil on canvas, while Millar’s were sculptures out of acrylic paint.

Millar’s sculpture Dave and Becca’s Sunday as the only three-dimensional work stood alone in the middle of the room, looking quite out of place.

The piece was a miniaturized scene of two absent people playing a leisurely game of Connect Four on fold out chairs.

Not only was Millar’s piece the only sculpture, it was also the only piece that didn’t remind me of destruction, but instead reflected a picture of everyday human life. Dave and Becca’s Sunday seemed still in line, however, with what I began to understand as the main theme of the exhibit — post-apocalyptia and life after the human race.

Even in the sculpture, a scene of serenity is given sinister undertones when the junk food picnic items, like the Hickory Sticks and Doritos, are flying around — literally as the chain of Doritos free falling out of their bag are shaped upwards and made into what looks like a helicopter.

Golland’s Traverse depicts accumulated garbage and waste — the artist constructs detailed environments in stark colours like bleak yellows and deep blacks.

Unlike Millar, both Guerray and Golland are drawn towards less direct manifestations of humanity.

Their work seems to coalesce into a gritty series of surrealist oil works, highlighted by the bold difference in style of Chris Millar.

As I walked out of the gallery, I couldn’t help but think about the post-apocalyptic message of the exhibit, but then my mind went back to the Doritos.

Strange Reverie is at Union Gallery until Sept. 21.

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