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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Holy Ginormous Paintings, Batman!

Posted By on Wed, May 15, 2013 at 10:53 AM

click to enlarge wed_holybatman.jpg

Epic battles were waged, blood was spilt, villains vanquished, heroes triumphed and love endured, all on the battlefields conjured in our childhood bedrooms. Action figures from GI Joe to Barbie, just inches high, loomed larger than life in our imagination. But then you grow up. To recapture what he calls "that faded sense of awe," artist Robert Xavier Burden recreates Batman, Spiderman, and Thundercats as he remembers them: bold, bright, magical, and 11 feet high.

"If it was to scale, really Voltron should be a 65-foot painting" Burden says, almost apologetically, of the super robot. "They needed to tower over you when you stepped into the gallery space. I wanted it to be something that's imposing." His solo show, Toy Box, features sixteen oil paintings. He began the series in 2006, with some pieces taking more than a thousand hours of work over a year to complete. Many of the paintings are paired with taxidermy, including a rat he commissioned and imported from England. As he explains: "It's the idea that you want these things to be real so badly."

Toy Box starts Wednesday at 7 p.m. (and continues through June 1) at Shooting Gallery, 886 Geary (at Larkin.), S.F. Admission is free; call 931-1500 or visit

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Michael Singman-Aste

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