Jolt of emotion

“Mickey, stop!” by Gale Hart, acrylic on canvas, 2012.

“Mickey, stop!” by Gale Hart, acrylic on canvas, 2012.

Where: Elliott Fouts Gallery, 1831 P Street; (916) 736-1429;
Second Saturday reception: September 8, 5:30-9 p.m. Through October 4.
Artist talk: With guest Kim Sturla, executive director of Animal Place, Thursday, September 13, 6-8 p.m.
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Gale Hart is working on a secret. In her studio, she points out the framework of a large piece that she wants under wraps until the opening of what she calls her “epic show” at Elliott Fouts Gallery this month, Show Some Emotion. What she good-humoredly doesn’t mind sharing is that it’s less than a week before she installs the show, and the piece is only halfway done.

Inspired by the zero-to-10-rating emoticon pain scale a hospital showed her to quantify her hurt after a pelvis-breaking-skateboarding accident, many of Hart’s metal sculptures and paintings contain a combination of graffiti-style renderings and her signature clean minimalism with cartoonlike little creatures in distress; simple, round, often grimacing or sad faces, many of which have the massive ears of that famous Disney mouse—a recurring character in her work, because “people have a real affiliation with Mickey Mouse, and its bothersome to people” to see him dismembered, she explained.

And that’s what Hart’s mission is: for the viewer to have an emotional response to her work, to begin a dialogue about the themes of helmet and gun safety, and animal cruelty, and the desensitization of humans.

An artist talk at the gallery on Thursday, September 13, will include the executive director of Grass Valley’s Animal Place animal sanctuary. See more of Hart’s work, variations of a silhouetted woman wielding an ax in “Attack on Habitat,” addressing human aggression in a concurrent display at University Art (2601 J Street).