Two of the greatest achievements in human history have been the invention of the donut and the creation of toy robots, and Bay Area artist Eric Joyner has long celebrated the curious relationship between such totemic images in his work. When he adds adorable little kittens to the mix, the cuteness factor just goes off the charts. In Midnight Stroll, from “Machine Man Memories,” Joyner’s latest exhibition of paintings at Corey Helford Gallery, a benevolent vintage robot cradles a curious tabby in its arms under a moonlit sky in a snowy forest. The interactions of Joyner’s robots with wizards, sentient donuts, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Creature From the Black Lagoon might seem kitschy, but there is also a strangely compelling poignancy in his fantastic images.

Corey Helford Gallery, 571 S. Anderson St., Boyle Heights; opening reception, Sat., March 7, 7-11 p.m.; through Sat., April 11; free. (310) 287-2340,

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