Visual artist Alex Kuno makes his Rogue Buddha Gallery debut this weekend, presenting a selection from his ongoing series The Miscreants of Tiny Town, which explores darkly satirical fairy tales. In his latest exhibition, “The Primal Forces of Nature,” Kuno makes a diversion away from the scary and weird children often found in his work in favor of archetypal creatures that propel the evolution of the artist’s imagined world.
In past shows, Kuno has demonstrated a knack for making the end times seem downright adorable, as his childlike characters face morbid doom with curiosity and wonder. For “Primal Forces of Nature,” he broadens his scope, as long-tongued and sharp-clawed beasts destroy the "Tiny Town Pangaea” and new metropolises are formed atop the denigrated ruins.
Rogue Buddha owner Nicolas Harper was introduced to Kuno’s art about six years ago, and was captivated instantly. “There’s a macabre side to his work, which drew me in,” he says. “I have always been a fan of fairy tales, and on an aesthetic level I was just drawn to it.”
The two met a couple years ago on Facebook, and eventually met up in person. “We’re like-minded in how we approach history and current political environments,” Harper says.
The show will include about 28 pieces of mixed media with pencil, paint, and ink on paper, plus one work on wood panel. Many of the pieces incorporate images of imaginary creatures and environments, including buildings on landscapes that are suspended in mid-air with caves underneath. “He’s depicting the evolution of societies,” Harper says.
In writing about the show, Kuno references Alexander Herzen’s statement that “history is the autobiography of a madman.”
“It’s starting to feel like history isn’t a straight line at all but an impossibly tangled wad, constantly looping around itself and obscuring its own design,” Kuno writes.
Drawing on archetypal and mythical creatures, Kuno ponders evolution in a fantastical way, with the compositions inspired by family crests and military insignia.
Like Kuno’s other works, there’s a darkness as well as a vibrancy. “The rendering is very light-hearted,” Harper says. “There’s almost a feel of Japanese wood-cut blocks.”
IF YOU GO:
There will be an opening reception Friday, October 2, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Rogue Buddha Gallery
357 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis