On a chilly Saturday afternoon, expecting to be one of few visitors to Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art, I was surprised to find a flow to the basement level. The crowd of all ages was busily and enthusiastically absorbing an energetic and lively show. The work engages the imagination and utilizes creative impulses, enlivening the mind with cognitive journeys of building blocks and castles.
Walter Wick—the children’s book author behind the I Spy series and a visual artist—demonstrates the limitlessness of the imagination in an extensive series of photographs and models. The show’s title might evoke thought of an insignificant exhibition of novelty, but this show is more than child’s play. Wick and his production team have crafted stagelike narratives, panoramas, cityscapes and toy constructs that introduce new places and spaces: lucid products of the imagination.
The works shown are uncanny, bringing a story like Hansel & Gretel or Puss in Boots to life. Great metropolises made of toy cars and monolithic robots seem like functioning entities. These manifestations from more than 30 books are a mania of themes that escape time and space and fall somewhere between the physical and the metaphysical. From the fantastical and whimsical to the macabre or grandiose, it seems as if no subject is too quixotic for the mind and creative ability of Wick. (Ehren Clark)
Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic @ BYU Museum of Art, N. Campus Dr., Provo, 801-422-8287, through Aug. 1, 2009. Free admission. MOA.BYU.edu