Monstrosities 2017

The term kaijū came into use to describe a budding genre of Japanese special effects-based, or tokusatsu, cinema: films about “strange beasts”, or monsters. Gaining popularity with 1954’s original Godzilla, kaijū would ultimately encompass any cinematic creature, from kaijū-eiga (movie monsters) to kaijin (humanoid monsters) to daikaiju (giant monsters). And with the continued growth of this style, an array of artists derived their core inspiration from their nostalgia for these “strange beasts”. And it is this artistry that’s the focus of Monstrosities, an exhibition of kaiju designer toys curated by Guumon (Brian Mahony) and returning for its third annual outing at myplasticheart.

The Monstrosities 2017 Window Display

Focused on exhibiting hand-painted one-of-a-kind pieces and a few small editions, the gallery’s window display highlighted the diversity of the creatures found inside. On the left-hand side were two humanoid creatures, a one-off version of Kearjun‘s Fuckinrock (2016) by the artist and a rendition of Luke “Grody Shogun” Rook’s Ensorcelled Man (2011), in a freshly painted Frozen Wasteland EMan version by Monsterfoot Creations (Mike Morfoot). These lead the way into a trio of giant monstrosities, two vinyl Guumon Daigomi (2010) pieces — the Transparent Daigomi & Half and Half Daigomi — which tower over the tiny building sets accompanying the Monsterfoot Creations painted Yadokai (2015) from SLAVExONE & UnaffiliatedSJ. Finally, on the right, there’s an enormous bear-beast in the form of Kesagake (2014) by Rampage Toys (Jon Malmstedt), given greater scale by its “human snack” omake, or extra.
The figures facing inward from the window display aren’t quite as diverse, but still form a striking array. The relatively new Slaughter Shark (2016) from the Kaiju Light Society, a collaboration between Kearjun and Monsterfoot Creations, is presented in a flesh-toned version with a blood red rub of paint by Monsterfoot to illuminate the details. And one can’t help but remember the infamous shark versus zombie scene from Zombi 2 (1979) as a trio of YouZha (2015) rotting corpse characters trail after him, each of these one-offs crafted by their creator, Kearjun.

The Monstrosities 2017 Side Wall Display

Nestled behind the DJ booth, the side wall’s display featured five uniquely colored renditions of the Quateroid Mini (2016), the mutant grasshopper creation of Paulkaiju (Paul Copeland), as well as an edition of five Yinei (2016) by Gabriella June. While Paulkaiju’s careful blend of metallic paints against opaque eyes draws the viewer’s gaze to his works immediately, it is actually June’s creations that held more depth to explore. Underneath each real fabric kimono and geisha-inspired face paint design, June’s Yinei is actually a pudgy robot girl, her claw hands concealed within her robe’s sleeves.

The Monstrosities 2017 Main Wall Display

The massive main wall display starts immediately as one enters the gallery’s doorway, attendees greeted by Guumon’s multi-colored Marbled Daigomi with fantastic drizzles of black accentuating the form. This relatively abstract expressionist rendition is immediately followed by one of Paulkaiju’s Dualbat (2016) pieces, the highly detailed sculpt highlighted through metallic fades and opaque pops of paint.
As if captured emerging from the sea, Candie Bolton‘s Bake-Kujira (2016) glistens, glimmering flecks coating the beast’s hide. In contrast to this light refracting edition, Oltretomba‘s eponymous cyborg corpse (2016) — the first of six hand-painted by Guumon — is toned down, textures coated in muddy colors with tightly painted details immediately attracting the viewer. The two-headed GoDon (2015) by Kearjun, given a chromatic coarting by Guumon, is the polar opposite of the more realistically colored Two Toed Tom (2017) by Rampage Toys, which makes its debut here. Inspired by the legendary alligator of the same name thought to haunt the Alabama-Florida border, this anthorporphized rendition is striking, the lengthy tail counterbalancing its massive maw. And like with his Kesagake creation, Two Toed Tom comes with “human snack” omake, the previous natives attire reimagined as more modern swimsuits. Returning to the metallic tones, Paulkaiju’s Dualbat is presented here with a wonderfully contrasting form, transparent aspects fading to and from solidly painted parts.
Balanced on either end by Paulkaiju’s Chimera (2016) in one-of-a-kind versions with rooted doll hair, this shelf has a second GoDon from Guumon, painted in a beautifully complimentary color scheme. In between these pieces are two Nebula pattern adorned Guumon works, a Bangagon (2012) and a Daigomi, both masterminded in these carefully executed editions by Michael Devera.
Next to a second Nebula Bangagon by Devera is a Guumon painted version of PLANET-X‘s two-headed, cycloptic Twinclops (2016). And the metallic red hands of that Twinclops perfectly accentuate a similar color in the vinyl Ammonaito (2014) by Mechavirus (Todd Robertson), which smoothly plays between metallic red & blue coloration, completely clear touches, and an eye-catching yellow iris. Continuing the colorful flow, red and blue paints by Guumon adorn a Cyclops (2007) figure by BLObPUS (Kajimura Mutsumi). Immediately reminiscent of the Eye of Sauron, this Cyclops‘s gaze draws you to the LED Spiked Krunk by Guumon. Using his own Krunk (2011) design as the base, it has Diagomi arms that end in transparent, glitter infused claws and spikes that change coloration due to a lighting system built into the beast’s body.
The roughly hewn Fuckinrock figure by Kearjun makes its second appearance in this exhibition here, the lighter toned application truly allowing the sculpted entrail detailing to stand out. Its unfortunately easy to overlook this piece as it is situated next to one of the most impressive pieces in this showcase, Paulkaiju’s Moon Goon (2015). With the base figure by Paulkaiju in collaboration with Mutant Vinyl Hardcore (Rich Montanari) and Splurrt (Joe Merrill), each sculpting one of the three sides, Paulkaiju differentiates them through tonal variations while coalescing the whole with the realistic eye applications. Continuing from this is another Paulkaiju creation, this time painted by Guumon, in the form of the Biterfish (2015). Inspired by the look of anglerfish, this aquatic monstrosity pairs well with another of Bolton’s Bake-Kujira, though there is a BLObPUS painted Daigomi between them.
The third and final of Paulkaiju’s Dualbat creations in this exhibit, a gleaming milky colored vinyl is dressed with metallic paint sprays and spots of detailing. In contrast to the first and second versions shown, which had solidly opaque eyes and pupils staring straight ahead respectively, this one is given a wonderfully nonchalant demeanor through its upward gaze.
Rampage Toys contributes a gorgeous rendition of his Hag DX (2015) collaboration with Skull Head Butt, this Grinning Hag X having finely applied matte colorations across its body with a high-gloss black hair perfectly framing the skullhead. Then tucked between a second copy of Devera’s Nebula Daigomi, another Guumon painted Oltretomba, and the third of four Bake-Kujira by Bolton, there is a hand-painted, one-off Hyper Kraken (2016) by Paulkaiju. Similarly colored to the third Dualbat, the milky base color is accented by blue and purple metallic sprays with gold highlights.
Exploring the diversity paint applications can give the same forms, this shelf has two further examples of Guumon’s painted Oltretomba pieces as well as a second Twinclops decorated by him and a third Chimera by Paulkaiju.
Situated between a Oltretomba painted by Guumon and the final Bake-Kujira by Bolton is a colorful rendition of Zollmen‘s vintage looking Zudon (2008), painted here by Monsterfoot Creations. Wisely making the eye stand out in a sea of camoflaged splotches, the viewer’s gaze is directed to the head and the muddy colored mouth which seems to have a cavernous depth.
The final shelf of the exhibit houses more Guumon painted renditions of the Oltretomba, Biterfish, and Twinclops, as well as a singular version of Splurrt’s Secretoy beast, the Cinema Monster (2014), as painted by Rampage Toys. Accompanied by one of Malmstedt’s “human snake” omake, the reptilian colored top half of this beast flows into milky white with pink accents on the cloven hindquarters. Vaguely inspired in appearance by the monstrous Galligantua from Jack the Giant Killer (1962), the Cinema Monster seems a terribly appropriate piece to find at the end of this kaiju exhibition.
The 2017 Monstrosities group exhibition at myplasticheart had its opening reception on Saturday, February 4th from 7-10pm. All works in this exhibition will remain on display until March 5th, 2017 at the gallery’s physical location (210 Forsyth St., New York, NY 10002).

View the gallery’s dedicated page for the exhibition

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