WHAT: Lost Souls of the Cascade Tunnel
WHEN: Until April 12
WHERE: Soo Visual Arts Center, 2640 Lyndale Ave. S.
The Soo Visual Art Center has a strong reputation for hosting some of the most diverse artistic exhibits in Minneapolis. From super-heroic Polaroids to fiber-sculpted imps, the center has provided a forum for skilled artists to share their medium-melding works with a wider audience. For this reason, the Soo is the ideal sanctum for “Lost Souls of the Cascade Tunnel ,” a multifaceted series of fantastical, amalgamated wonders from the enigmatic and widely touted street artist Deuce Seven.
It’s not the first time Deuce Seven has found purchase at the Soo; his work, which normally adorns boxcars on train tracks far and wide, last hit the center in 2006 , where it was met with high praise.
“We did our first show with Deuce Seven in the small gallery, and it was really well-received,” Suzy Greenberg , the executive director of the Soo, said. “Since then, I have wanted to do a show with him in the main gallery. It’s a big challenge to take on for a solo show, and I was very excited to see what he could do on a large scale.”
The gallery has certainly met expectations; pieces sprawl across the main room, providing a bright and frenzied contrast to the typically whitened walls. Deuce Seven’s body of work looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book — neon lines swirl out of the realms of nonsense to create intricate works as paradoxically wild as they are structured.
“I think the work has a very energetic style but also a real sweetness. The combination is really compelling,” Greenberg said.
To call it compelling might be an understatement. The series is concurrently disturbing and strangely seductive, pulling the viewer into an apocalyptic world of demonic birds and feline prostitutes, and igniting some sense of Freudian shame with its subtly yonic imagery. Ultimately, the exhibit looks like a ferocious acid trip bending to the will of form, making for a dazzling viewing experience.
The most impressive of these hauntingly alluring images is undoubtedly “3 Good Son/Bad Son,” which exemplifies the aforementioned bleeding psychedelia that permeates the gallery. The other particularly beguiling piece is called “Terminal Spirit Disease ,” a work done with 1 Shot lettering enamel that pays homage to the artist’s former work on the tracks. The picture features a demon-like figure accented by symbols of modernity in the form of train exhaust, power lines and a floating blimp.
Though it may sound like an exhibit rooted in eccentricity, it is actually easily accessible. The chaotic swirls that mark half the gallery are so visually gratifying that anyone can enjoy them while the rest of the works are so finely detailed that they will satisfy aficionados and the uninitiated alike.