At the opening reception of Tomoko Konoike’s “Earthshine” at San Francisco’s Gallery Wendi Norris, a large, six-legged wolf sculpture coated in the shards of broken mirrors stood in the middle of the room, illuminating the industrial-looking gallery space with glittering reflections. Wolves are a common theme in Konoike’s work; a weakened, embryo-like wolf is also pictured on the large folding screen that divides the gallery space. The wolves, now extinct in Konoike’s native Japan, appear as a cautionary symbol of an impending dystopia or perhaps a visitation from the beyond.
“Earthshine” is a mixture of drawing, installation and sculpture that accumulates into a surreal microcosm straight out of Konoike’s imagination. Different corners of the gallery contain their own strange characters. A flower with a round, babydoll-like face looks as if it is about to fly down from the ceiling and attack the viewers while another mirrored sculpture, a volcano, hangs on a wall; its sorrowful expression and pearly mouth are hidden with its downward orientation. The 2D work in the show echoes the 3D and the puzzle pieces that define the relationships between these characters slowly begin to reveal themselves. “Earthshine” is on view through October 26 at Gallery Wendi Norris in San Francisco.