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Robots Enjoy Donuts at the Corey Helford Gallery

The cold, emotionless world of a robot is not strong enough to resist the temptation of a brightly colored donut. Artist Eric Joyner knows how they feel.

In artist Eric Joyner's world, robots study donuts.

Currently on display at the Corey Helford Gallery are paintings of tin robots with donuts in Joyner's show, "Donut Logic," which builds upon a juxtaposition of cold automatons and their fascination with warm, sugarcoated cakes. The subjects in question are tin robot toys, with emotionless faces and square heads--but for co-curator Bruce Helford, he sees the robots as full of life.

"Eric's technique and his skill are amazing--and people love his work," said Bruce, who co-curates with his wife and gallery owner Jan Corey Helford.

Bruce and Jan absolutely adore Joyner's work because of the irony of seeing robots doing mundane human activities.

"In one painting, Eric's painted this area in New York called the 'High Line,' where there used to be elevated tracks, but now it's become this very popular park. He's painted that area--only now it's devoid of humans and the robots are caring for what's left of the ground," said Bruce, referring to an a piece entitled "Life Goes On."

Joyner is less forthcoming with the details of his work. He described his art as thus: "Dreams are hard to remember. Maybe that's why my paintings are dreamlike. I want to live in a dream."

And even though most of Joyner's work includes robots, he confesses to never having any toys like that growing up.

"I did play in the dirt--and the few toys I had were not well taken care of. Often times I used them as testing for firecrackers," Joyner admits.

At the show's recent opening, Joyner sports a black suit and tie with a huge grin.  Patrons laughed at the emotionless faces of the robots; some even said they were getting hungry while looking at the art.

One patron, Julie Marchant and her boyfriend, own some of Joyner's work. And so Marchant lists the reasons why Joyner's work is on display at her own home: "It's the conventionalism, with the industrial meets whimsical. I like that combination," she says enthusiastically.

When looking at the emotionless robots, I began to see underneath their bleak exteriors a sense of humanity, as well as the same illogical comparisons that exist in the natural world--between our dreams and reality.

"Donut Logic" will be on display until Sept. 1 at the Corey Helford Gallery. 


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