20 North Gallery

Painter Aaron Pickens’ Toy Stories opens at 20 North Gallery in Toledo

From 20 NORTH GALLERY On Friday, January 11, 20 North Gallery will open “Toy Stories,” an exhibition of captivating oil paintings by Toledo area artist Aaron Pickens. The exhibit will continue through March 30, 2019. A free public reception will be held Friday, Jan. 11, from 6 to 9 p.m. The “Toy Stories” exhibit features joyful and insouciant paintings with a whimsical sense of playfulness that belies the serious narratives they symbolize. Pickens’ paintings are created through dedicated observation of toy tableaux that the artist has built. With an emphasis on light and materiality, he carefully constructs these still life compositions to captivate the viewer. Pickens weaves an additional layer of depth into these bright, bold paintings with the toys and their depicted actions symbolizing and commenting on social issues relevant to today. A motif in Pickens’ artwork is to critique from a self-effacing position. Pickens states, “One of the unifying themes in my artwork has always been the desire to quietly disrupt some form of artistic convention in a highly refined manner, often using humor to do so.” Activism, art criticism, gun rights and environmental issues are examples of topics addressed in these vibrant works that entice and encourage the viewer to look longer and discover the underlying commentary. 20 North Gallery art director Condessa Croninger remarks, “We are proud to ring in the New Year and an exciting twenty-sixth exhibition season with celebrated and rising talent, Aaron Pickens. An artist with local roots, Pickens has an admirable dedication to the arts, fostering new talent through his role as an adjunct instructor at Adrian College among other institutions of higher education. As he expands his artistic career, we are delighted to be a venue hosting his popular and thought-provoking paintings that exhibit a strong duality. The way each viewer may bring a new perspective to each artwork is a true testament to the artist’s innate ability to create multi-layered paintings that discuss matters of social justice, yet are accessible to the child within all of us.” Aaron Pickens (Toledo, Ohio) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in digital arts from Bowling Green State University…