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Toy Stories: Ray Tyler Reviews the Toylander Exhibit

The exhibit is ongoing at the Noyes Museum.

Since the day that C. Ms Coolidge proudly unveiled his “classic” painting Dogs Playing Poker, there has been a debate that will remain unsettled about “high art vs. low art.”

As the decades pass and trends change, the line between high and low art moves up and down.

Personally I have believed the discussion is moot because if a painting, photo, sculpture or literature moves me, makes me think, just pleases my eyes and in some cases assaults my eyes, then the art works. I do not concern myself about where it ranks on the cultural high or low art debate.

Where ever you stand on the debate between high and low art, I strongly recommend you take a trip to Stockton College, 733 East Lily Lake Road, to enjoy The Toylander Exhibit. Toylander, I feel, stands firmly on the line between what some critics label high and low art.

Toylander is a stunning array of paintings of toys. While I am personally not opposed to comics and cartoon art, that would not be how I would describe Toylander. The Toylander Exhibit will excite little kids under 10, while exciting the little kid in people over 25 or 30 years old as well.

The artists involved do not just use their talents to paint pictures of toys but they use artistic tools such as perspective to tell stories with their paintings. Every piece is a dynamic one frame stage play.

In one picture, a collection of diverse toys is reproduced in a pile and in shades of blue. In another painting a dancing bear looks ominous as if he has caught you looking at something forbidden. In yet another painting, a collection of toys seems to be ganging up in a hall way is if it is about to attack. Another painting depicts the toys as laying down, as if they were just defeated in battle.

Or at least that’s what I gleaned from my time with The Toylander Exhibit.

I doubt that The Toylander Exhibit will do anything but refresh the debates about high and low art. For all you lovers of high art, go visit this exhibit. You will see many toys doing many things; playing poker is not one of them.

The artists featured in Toylander include Katrina Balling, Jesse Brugger, Peter Drake, Beth Edwards, Megan Marlatt, John Jacobsmeyer, Dik Liu, Margaret McCann, and Caleb Weintraub.

On Aug. 23, Margaret McCann will host a special curators talk at 6:30 p.m. at The Noyes.

To see more information about Toylander and other exhibits at The Noyse please visit this link http://www.noyesmuseum.org/exhibitions.html.

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