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Polar bears with guns and avant-garde on avant-garde in three exhibits not to miss

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We Are Polar Bears” by Shark Toof
Shark Toof

Shark Toof

Fans of LA’s Shark Toof might want to check out Joseph Watson Collection to see what the artist, known for trademark shark images plastered throughout LA and other cities, does when not working the urban landscape.

Shark Toof shows his depth in Ohhh…Nature, an explosive collection of studio work that merges street and contemporary fine art, anchored by traditional representational imagery and graphic novel-style renderings. The wild animal muzzles—placed on human faces surrounded by aerosol graffiti fonts—create a tense dialogue between the wild and tame, the raw and composed. The message? We’re animals. We’re beastly. Our nature is intrinsic, so embrace it.

Other Shark Toof works in the exhibit portray our wildlife personified as soldiers, taking over their place in the hierarchy. Battles are set in richly colored, bright apocalyptic landscapes. In military gear, the animals fire submachine guns, wield knives and storm the beach in a maelstrom of color and illustration. His Hello Kitty works from the Small Gift Sanrio 50th anniversary show have the popular characters mischievously holding markers and spray cans against grandmother’s wallpaper, putting a dark, humorous dark twist on an adorably innocent pop culture icon.

This is the second Shark Toof show at the gallery, owned by Las Vegas artist Joseph Watson, who first met Shark Toof while both attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.Through December; Wednesday-Friday, 1-6 p.m.; Saturday, noon-6 p.m., 107 E. Charleston, Blvd., josephwatsoncollection.com.

Decay

We’re so warped into believing we can work against nature that the idea of letting nature take its course seems entirely radical, maybe even a little unbalanced. In Maintenance and Decay at CSP Architect Studios in Emergency Arts, Las Vegas artist David Sanchez Burr has us wondering, what if?

His sculptural works, left to naturally decompose, highlight the ongoing state of things: change. Small sculptures submerged in containers filled with colored water show how the water lost (or is losing) pigment while algae builds new dimensions and the sculptural forms change. Multiple layers of plaster and sand were used to create architectural space based on erosion, and a streaming digital video shows a sculpture responding to sound vibrations.

“We work so hard to keep things perfect, but it’s counter-intuitive. What’s natural should be taken advantage of,” Sanchez Burr says. “Peoples’ obsession of keeping things as they are requires more time devoted to maintenance and less time devoted to innovation.”

We could follow the artist’s lead. Embrace the idea that everything is in a constant state of change and develop things that are allowed to transform naturally. Through November 26, inside Emergency Arts, by appointment only, [email protected]

5th Wall

Those who like a little avant-garde to go with their avant-garde can find heaping portions at 5th Wall, a new artist-owned Emergency Arts gallery, run by Yasmina Chavez, Eri King, Javier Sanchez and Marlene Siu. If its opening show is any kind of indicator, the space is, as promised, a home to the experimental in visual and contemporary art.

Sonic Trichromacy, a sound and object installation by Bay Area composer and percussionist Daniel Steffey (a UNLV grad), features a suspenseful and discordant composition of sound using a program that assigns musical parameters to color. Different sections of the resulting score, partly inspired by Occupy Oakland events, are played through CDs and reel-to-reel and cassette tapes, so that the elements vary according to your position in the small gallery. Through, December 11, hours vary; closing reception December 10, 7 p.m.; 782-0713.

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