Art

Sam Davis unleashes a quest for love (in all the wrong places) at Trifecta Gallery

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The Details

Modern Love
Through February 22; Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Trifecta Gallery, 366-7001. Opening reception January 31, 6-8 p.m.

Sam Davis brings us into worlds where astronauts and robots explore barren and isolated terrains in a future imagined by a vintage past. Often, we become voyeurs looking in on a lonely figure navigating a new landscape.

But in Modern Love at Trifecta Gallery, Davis brings his creation, Astrobot, into our contemporary world, where, as if gathering intel, he searches for love in all the wrong places, erroneously assuming his partner to be that which looks most similar to him—a vintage TV, a mailbox and a parking meter.

With Davis’ works—sculpture, painting, laser etching or photography—viewers feel natural affection for the story, regardless of their own sci-fi leanings. And Modern Love gives us the same Davis style: whistle-clean, colorful and minimal laser-etched wood panel and acrylic works, this time showcasing the one-eyed red robot looking innocent, curious, lovable and desperate in a mid-mod home, on an urban street surrounded by large, impersonal buildings and in a suburban neighborhood. Astrobot even stands on a mountaintop and, in two acrylic-on-wood paintings, he wanders into strip clubs.

But as usual, the artist—who’s created ray guns, cast-iron rockets, robots and flying saucers and photographed sea monsters swimming above the desert floor—brings a variety of work into this exhibit: three-dimensional saucers on minimalist abstract backgrounds, screen prints and cast-iron sculptures of Astrobot and his Astropod. Joining the storyline is a one-eyed organic character, who, like Astrobot, has little arms and legs and wanders alone, raising the question as to whether their paths have crossed.

The connection Davis makes between Astrobot and childhood imagination, amid adult themes, is something we’ve seen in his other works. Just as we understood the narrative of his color panoramas of vintage toy robots, we can relate to this lovable stranger in a strange land searching for another.

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