wonder too

April 14 - May 5, 2007

Colorful flags and the sounds of the calliope set the mood for Gavin Scott’s Wonder Cabinets opening at Schomburg Gallery on April 14. An homage to the pleasures of the boardwalk, the exhibition features two mechanical tableaux and more than a dozen shadow boxes that capture the wonder and innocence of a pre-digital childhood.

These were the days when The Lone Ranger rode into our living rooms, and space actually was the final frontier. Each 3' x 4' assemblage features toys, games and ephemera juxtaposed to evoke a very particular atmosphere. With their themes of Arthurian Knights, World War Two, or Egyptian mummies, the boxes are time capsules showing the myths and mores of the post war world, heroic primers for children growing up in the 1950s.

Influenced by the work of Joseph Cornell and pop artist Peter Blake, Scott, a screenwriter who has written for George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, began making his Wonder Cabinets in the 1980’s and recently teamed up with engineer John Melzian to add movement and sound effects.

"What interests me about mass market toys is the way they go right to the heart of how people see the world at a particular time," says Scott. "They’re three dimensional representations of what people are thinking about the past, the present and the future. And because toys loom large in kid’s lives when they first get them, they can carry an extraordinary emotional punch. All of which makes them a fascinating medium in which to work."

View Works | Read the Review