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The Lone Stranger 

When: July 4-30 2014
If you are a Skrillex fan, you might be familiar with the illustrations of Chris Blackstock, who has been making posters for the EDM DJ for years. Indeed, Blackstock’s drawings are like a hot summer acid trip that has been candy-coated and laid out in the sun to form a shiny shell. But Blackstock’s current solo show at Loakal Gallery (560 2nd St., Oakland), The Lone Stranger, affirms that his artistic capabilities extend far beyond concert posters. The show capitalizes on Blackstock’s knack for illustrating cohesive storylines and filling out the descriptive details of character and setting through a collection of stand-alone works. The exhibit’s protagonist roams through a stylized desert — complete with cracked dirt and cacti — and at one point finds himself sitting atop a buffalo in a ceramic pot with a whimsically sinuous neck a la Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Beyond that though, the show also appears as a release of pent-up enthusiasm for experimenting with more tactile media. The standout works are the pieces in which Blackstock has mounted intricately laser-etched cutouts of his figures onto wooden panel backgrounds painted with a combination of acrylic and spray paint. A series of laser-etched brass plaques, a number of clay sculptures, and a mural also do their parts in completing the scene. Altogether, Blackstock’s application of his illustrative style to these mixed media works form a remarkably immersive, psychedelic experience.
— Sarah Burke

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