Grotesque animals, violent battles, and neon colors–these are the things that nightmares are made of in Caleb Weintraub’s exhibit at the Peter Miller Gallery. Weintraub’s saturated oil paintings wander through mysterious storybook dystopias with motifs that walk the line between Disney and The Lord of the Flies. “To The Death” follows two tribal-clad, ostrich-riding children at war in the desert, the highlight being their painstakingly rendered determined expressions. A few steps away, the viewer is immersed in the terrifying whimsy by a colorful, cluttered, life-sized sculptural diorama called “Snowglobe-A Plastic Dream”—a clear plexiglass dome filled with a crocodile, ostriches, and a Moulin Rouge-style master of ceremonies, while children sporting animal skins peer out desperately for an escape. The scene is made all the more unsettling by the fact that it is not fully enclosed–when attempting to walk deeper into the gallery the figures spill out of one open side, threatening to follow your path. The show is perhaps not one for the squeamish, but the depths of juvenile anxiety make for a fascinating journey.
Caleb Weintraub will run until October 20th at Peter Miller Gallery, 118 N Peoria St, Chicago.