^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

Shannon Cannings: “Trigger Happy”

The paintings in Shannon Cannings’s show “Trigger Happy” pay homage to a forbidden fruit of her youth: toy guns. The artist says her parents wouldn’t allow anything resembling the weapon into the house, and this, you could say, triggered some rebelliousness in her adulthood. On a recent hunt for subject matter in the toy aisle (Cannings tends to paint relics of childhood), she was drawn to a pack of squirt guns in rainbow colors. “They just looked like a pack of giant Jolly Ranchers,” she says. “I was just thrilled with them.”

Cannings makes realistic paintings of the toy guns using a mix of glaze and oil to render the toy’s shiny and translucent qualities. Trigger Happy features Cannings’s tiara-crowned, cherub-faced daughter Madeline aiming a plastic pistol at the viewer, and in Friendly Fire, two squirt guns are aimed at each other.

“The names of the pieces are things that I think about being a happy veneer for something that carries a great consequence,” she says. “Like Friendly Fire, that sounds like a game you play with a hose in your backyard; it doesn’t sound as horrible as it really is.” It seems Cannings’s upbringing had lasting effects. “I didn’t tell my mother that I bought those plastic guns for a long time — I’m an adult, you know, I’m allowed to own plastic guns!” she says and laughs.

She won’t let her kids play with the toy weapons either. She says she felt uneasy about letting Madeline hold the squirt gun — even for art’s sake — because she’s worried about sending mixed messages. “Before this, I worked a lot with some candy as well, and at one point she picked up a lollipop and said, ‘Is this food or art?’” 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Through August 9. Anya Tish Gallery, 4411 Montrose. For information, call 713-524-2299 or visit www.anyatishgallery.com. Free.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: July 12. Continues through Aug. 9, 2008

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.