Museum welcomes unusual new exhibit

OCEANSIDE — The Art After Dark event, “Dr. Steampunk’s Art Extravaganza,” brought together steampunk film, fashion, sculpture and painting at the Oceanside Museum of Art on Nov. 5.
Steampunk art, which combines Victorian-era finery with industrial steel and science fiction, was on exhibit, strutted down the runway and performed live during the evening.
David Gough painted live in the second floor gallery. Gough said his images of medieval scenes, skulls and human figures are inspired by televised extremist idealism and fear bating. “I moved from Ireland to the U.S. and was confronted with Fox News’ terrifying revolutionism,” Gough said. “It’s unlike the BBC that televises rational news in a nonpersonal way.”
Gough said his work also reflects his thoughts about his own mortality after three of his close friends died within 15 years of each other. His work on the theme includes 24 paintings, including three that were on display. “I’ve been working towards this for 25 years trying to find the rationale of why I’m doing it,” Gough said. “You’re always revisiting what you did previously.”
Fellow painter Shay Davis had two oil paintings on display. “I’d describe my style of painting as detailed surrealism with a futuristic mix,” Davis said. His paintings tell stories of morality in rich interactive scenes between animals and half human, half animal forms. Biblical imagery is often present, like the snake holding the golden apple in “Greed.”
On the catwalk, models dressed in steampunk fashion designed by Diana Drake sported metallic dresses with full skirts, wings, and fuel cell backpacks. Models acted out a tame Frankenstein scenario in which a mad scientist wound them up as they ran out of steam.
“My fashion ranges from gothic high fashion to costume theme period stuff,” Drake said. “These gowns are styled steampunk. The steam power angle is retro-vintage taken futuristic.”
Also on display in the second floor gallery were two mixed-media pieces, “Steampunk Mannequin” and “Steampunk Jewelry,” by Denise Bonaimo. “I’m primarily a jewelry designer,” Bonaimo said. “My work started getting larger and larger.”
Bonaimo has made a series of 15 art pieces out of found metal objects, including spoons, thimbles, hinges and watch parts. “Steampunk Mannequin” is a seamstress mannequin decoupaged in newspaper and dressed in
tulle and thin sheets of
copper. Watch parts sit inside the mannequin’s red heart and copper pipes curl into wings. “It’s the most exciting thing I’ve done in a really long time,” Bonaimo said. “It’s feminine and edgy. Victorian lace and tulle juxtapose riveted cooper.”
Art After Dark events are held at the Oceanside Museum of Art several times throughout the year.

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