Tops at "Toys," talk too: UPDATE | Rock Candy

Tops at "Toys," talk too: UPDATE

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The Arkansas Arts Center's annual "Toys Designed by Artists" exhibit opens Dec. 17, but we know the winners now:
Purchase Awards went to Ye Seul Seo of Korea for "Please, Soothe Me" and Bill Price of Memphis for "Sheriff Rubber Duck." Oklahoma artist Chance Dunlap’s "Tumbler" received an Honorable Mention.

The juror, woodworker Jim Bartz, will give a talk, "Toys: A Juror's Perspective,"at 5:30 p.m. tonight in the Arkansas Arts Center Lecture Hall.

The show runs through Feb. 20.

I just went to see the toy show (and the Delta Exhibition as well) and it's got some great stuff in it this year. Like "Sheriff Rubber Ducky" pictured above, a duck that (looks like it) can shoot back — the perfect toy for the duck hunter in your life.

Others of my favorites: "Please, Soothe Me" (also above), because it is a beautifully-felted Asian girl child doll whose arms move and make her look like she's wiping away tears when you turn a crank. Dunlap's meat-eating plant "Tumbler" (also above; image doesn't do it justice) and another of his wheeled toys, "Refugee," a tentacled thing. A toy that didn't win but should have: John Watts' "Don't Spill the Oil Board Game," complete with box (illustrated with two startled children); game board; game money; oil drums, dolphin, turtle, fishing boat, sail boat, alligator and otter pieces and, in the middle, an oil platform. Stack the oil drums the wrong way and oops! the gulf loses.

Undoubtedly the biggest toy ever in the 37 years of the Toy Show (an Arts Center original): "SLIM," Brooke Foy's giant wooden unicyle made entirely of the branches of trees — a large forked limb supports the seat and pedals, the wheels are woven sticks, the spokes of shaved branches. It's nearly the width of the Jeannette Rockefeller Gallery.

James Volkert of Conway has cleverly reproduced Fragonard's "The Swing" on a small canvas and hung it from a brass structure that appears to have gears that will allow the painting to swing. Nice.

More about the Delta later. Best Delta ever, better even than the last "Best.Delta.Ever" (Artnotes, Oct. 16, 2008).

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