200 S. Madison Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
THE PLATFORM GALLERY
September 8, 2023 - January 28, 2024
OPENING EVENT: September 8, 2023 | 5 - 9 PM
The seventh Platform Gallery exhibition features three original, never-before-seen works by artist and graphic designer Shaylin “Shay the Surrealist” Wallace. The trio of large-scale images pays homage to the artist’s hometown of Wilmington and premieres a new signature style for Wallace. Specially commissioned for The Delaware Contemporary, the images incorporate color, line, whimsy, and play—a window into Wilmington’s landscape and history through Wallace’s eyes. Each image is a vibrant, neon-colored, digital line drawing that depicts a notable site from Wallace’s life in Wilmington, sites that likewise define the city for residents and visitors alike.
Most known for her eye-catching collages of surrealist imagery that combine repurposed stock photographs with graphic design elements, Wallace’s Platform Gallery exhibition marks a turning point in her burgeoning career. For inspiration, Wallace looked to two of her favorite places in Delaware: the Riverfront and Wilmington’s nature parks, which she frequently visited with friends during her childhood and adolescence. She also looked at signs, stores, streets, the DART bus, her childhood house, her grandmother’s backyard, and other things and places that represent the artist’s personal experience of growing up in Wilmington. One piece recreates the “Welcome to Northeast Wilmington” sign. Another portrays the artist’s childhood home, transforming a photograph that the artist took earlier this year into a dreamy dwelling overflowing with creativity and nostalgia. The third portrays the iconic Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station.
Located on Front Street between French and Walnut Streets just steps away from The Delaware Contemporary, the station acts as a connector for not only the region’s urban locales but also a bridge to art, food, culture, and commerce in downtown Wilmington. Designed by renowned architect and furniture designer Frank Furness and built in 1907, the station was renamed in 2011 for then-Vice President (now President) Biden, an advocate for passenger rail who routinely took the train from Wilmington to Washington, D.C. during his time as a Senator from 1973 to 2009. Admired for his forceful architectural statements, Furness chose to have the trains move right through the second floor of the station rather than at the ground level. This unconventional arrangement celebrated the power of the locomotive and the region’s industrial strength. His aesthetic sensibilities can also be seen in the unorthodox combinations of materials he used: stone, iron, glass, terracotta, and brick.
Furness and Wallace share an affinity for merging the unconventional with the real, often in innovative and technologically advanced ways. Furness broke from dogmatic adherence to European trends, and Wilmington’s Amtrak station represents how he juxtaposed disparate styles and elements. Wallace has likewise created her own unique visual vocabulary that breaks from Western norms. Her art hovers between the surreal and the real. Using collage, drawing, memory, and intuition, she fancifully constructs a Wilmington, and a world that is dynamic, energetic, vivid, and place-specific.
Curated by Tiffany Barber, TDC Curator-in-Residence
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