The Andrew Edlin Gallery in Chelsea ends its summer with another group show. This onetitled Anthems for the Mother Earth Goddessfeels much bigger than the city’s normal seasonal fare.

For one, it’s made up of seven murals created specifically for this show. The artists range from graffitists, to dramatic social commentators, to abstractionists, to outsider artists. Sculptor/painter Kevin Sampson fits into the latter category, though who needs categories anymore these days?

Sampson is from Newark, NJ and is self-taught; his architectural sculptures of folkish buildings, boats, and instruments are rendered in a gothic expressionist style first recognized over a decade ago. They often remind viewers of set-pieces from Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas, albeit with community and activist commentaries emblazoned on their stoops, doorways, and staircases. A number of Sampson’s sculptures now reside in museums.

For the Mother Earth show, the artist did a mural painting titled Fruit of the Poisonous Tree (2015), which features, at its center, the trunk of a tree with bloody, mangled roots. On the tree’s bark are written places where racially-motivated police killings occurred recently (Ferguson, Staten Island, Baltimore). Along the bottom are klu klux klansmen with words like “Monsanto,” “RNC,” “Keystone,” and “Fracking” written on their hoods. A Confederate symbol emblazons the red curtain to the right of the composition and at the top-right is an impaled rhinoceros with the feet of a black man.

At the left side is a hybrid man/bull figure against an eyeball-like backdrop. Over the bull’s head are the words “Hands up… Don’t shoot.” The bull’s cubist features are a quotation of sorts of Picasso’s famous Woman in Green (at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris). The figure is also Christ-like in the way its hands are open and splayed slightly to the side; it is also raised on a cone-like base that sits on a pole, like the rhinoceros on the right side. Moving in, out, and around all these icons and symbols are a series of pipes that connect the elements visually and with additional words.

The entire mural showcases the kind of politically-aware, disturbing, interconnected content we associate with famous historic pieces like Picasso’s Guernica and Goya’s May 3rd, 1808. Sampson’s rhinoceros, especially, has a surrealist-like air to it, as its metamorphosis into human feet where hooves should be reminds of old cave paintings made in Africa and France over 15,000 years ago. In the hands of our ancient ancestors, such visions served to express the almost mystical relationship man shared to his environment. If we seem less united today, Sampson’s immediacy and passion underline a genuine solution: reunite, all of us, everything, right nowbefore we all become endangered species. (Brian Chidester)

"Fruit of the Poisonous Tree" full.

“Fruit of the Poisonous Tree” full.

Detail of "Fruit of the Poisonous Tree," by Kevin Sampson, 2015.

Detail of “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree,” by Kevin Sampson, 2015.