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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Take a Dark Walk in South Boston

South Boston’s own Proof Gallery’s Distillery (an old rum distillery converted into a vibrant artist’s community) is proud to display its latest exhibit. The exhibit features the most recent work of artist Kevin Hooyman, and is entitled “Dark Walk.” The work is so recent, in fact, that the artist told me he made all of the pieces within the past month. I had a chance to talk briefly with the artist while he and the gallery workers were finalizing set-up for the opening of “Dark Walk” later that night.

The exhibition consists of finely-detailed sketches colored with watercolor and large papier-mâché sculptures. Upon entering the gallery you are immediately confronted by a humanoid sculpture a little larger than the average person. I was taken aback by it at first until I began to revel in the bright, pastel colors used to paint it and the other pieces in the gallery. The imagery in Hooyman’s work looks like a cross between European and Native American mythology with a healthy dose of fantasy and surrealism. The figures the artist has sculpted are taken straight from the images, chimeras of human, animal, and plantlike forms. When I asked the artist what his inspiration for the sculpture was he paused for a minute before trying to explain that they are based on the ideas of his friends; in a way, he claims, they represent what the people close to him represent to him.

Hooyman told me he was trying to work more in color, showing me some of his previous work; he mostly worked in black and white prior to this show. He was trying to move away from a cartoonish look in his work to a more illustrated style. The scenes in the drawings, particularly the landscape scenes, represent places he has been, though he drew the plants and animals without any specific reference. Thus the shapes and colors are unreal but tantalizingly similar to what you know; he makes you swear you have seen a specific flower or type of tree before.

The name of the exhibition, “Dark Walk,” seems a bit of a misnomer to me. The colors are bright for the most part, and the images that do use cooler colors give the impression that they are night scenes and would normally have the same color scheme. The images do give the impression that perhaps they are the illustrations for an untold story, one that exists only in the mind of the artist.

The Distillery is a short walk from either Broadway Station or Andrew Station on the Red Line and the bus also stops nearby. For more information go to www.distilleryboston.com. Dark Walk will be on display through Oct. 18th; for more information go to www.proof-gallery.com. The Distillery will be part of South Boston Open Studios in November. Go see this exhibit and check out some of the other galleries in the Distillery building.