Various Artists - Sampler
The Contemporary Art Center settled into their new digs on Main Street and celebrated their new home-sweet-home with the Sampler show: a cross-stitch of artists local and away. Curated by local artist Mathew Couper, the exhibit explores the intersection of text and image with an emphasis on Las Vegas.
Couper: “Guess I’ve been thinking about the intersection of text and image for a long time. The conflation of the two is everywhere, international too – road signs, comics, art. In New Zealand, where I hail from, the most prominent artist in the history of the country’s painting combined text and abstract forms relating to religion and faith. Coming to Las Vegas a few times before settling here, I was taken by this intersection, especially with the illuminated casino signs and Googie-inspired signage from a past age that I recognized from old movies based in the city.
“I saw Las Vegas-based artist Darren Johnson’s exhibition in a library out west of the city just after we had arrived here. In my eyes I saw an artist who had a deep understanding of the nature of populist communication and was now investigating miscommunication in his art, in a city that focused on clarity of message for the allurement to loosen their purses and wallets. It was Las Vegas art but didn’t look like Las Vegas “art.” That was a great revelation that there were artists here thinking about the concepts presented in the city as a whole, not just the spritzer-glitz of The Strip.”
Through December at Contemporary Art Center at ALIOS 1217 S. Main St. www.lasvegascac.org
Jelaine Faunce – Neon and Nonsense Shopping
This artist has no need for an excuse to go shopping; a chance encounter with the right object at the store can inspire a new painting, and Jelaine Faunce’s whimsical absurdist works are definitely worth it.
Faunce: “I have this habit of browsing antique stores, toy stores, and craft/hobby stores, finding random objects or images on paper, and then seeing in them potential stories. I bring them home, combine them in some way, which makes me laugh, take a photo and paint it.
“For ‘How To Deal,’ I found a vintage produce label that could be used in different contexts. The large font “Eat-One” and arrow were perfect for combining with objects and creating stories. The hippo was found in a toy store sale bin, its wide-open maw appeared to be bellowing something obscene or annoying. Once I found the hippo, I immediately thought of the vintage produce label. The hippo would be at the pointy end of the arrow and a meat-eating predator would be at the other. I have several animal figurines, many of which would work, but I liked the idea of using a T-Rex to add to the absurdity of it all. Last came the title of the painting from the scene.”
Faunce added: “I don’t think of a subject/title first, I just start combining things which pique my interest, inspire my imagination, and I allow them to create the story and the title for me. Naturally, whatever comes of it will be something up my alley, but I don’t usually have an agenda when I start a new painting other than the desire to have fun. It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt, if that makes any sense.”
Through Dec. 14, Tastyspace, 520 Fremont St., suite 150 (Inside Emergency Arts). www.facebook.com/tastyspace
AWARE – Mural on 7th & Fremont streets
Burlesque dancers and tanks shimmer in red and blue anaglyph that pops out in 3D wonder with the right eyewear. The use of 3D painting technique takes interactive mural depth to a new level. Painted by local artist AWARE for the Life is Beautiful festival, if you haven’t set eyes on this 3D beauty yet, make it your first First Friday stop before it gets dark. And don’t forget your glasses!
AWARE: “That was the first time trying the 3D effect. I thought it would be much more interactive and draw people in. It’s difficult making a mural interactive and because I was the only local artist for the event, I wanted it to be a step above. I had to learn how an anaglyph 3D image works. I have never seen a mural painted in 3D and rarely in life do we see graphics that are blue and cyan. This specific effect is a sort of throwback from the 50’s, and though easy to make on a computer, difficult to paint.
“The process of painting this effect was something else altogether. When you glance at a stereoscopic image like this without glasses it makes you a bit cross-eyed. Painting each 3D element took hours. Those hours included painting from reference then standing back to see if what was painted matched the reference. Only after that would I put on glasses to see if the effect worked. After staring at these patterns of color for hours, I was dizzy and cross-eyed!”
AWARE continued: “The first two of the four 3D elements painted were completely finished, and later it was decided that the 3D effect was not effective enough and they needed to be completely repainted. So this really was a learning process. There were times that felt really defeating and times when I thought I could be in over my head. But with a deadline approaching, we couldn’t slow down. Finishing this wall was a personal achievement that was executed with the help of a few others, Dopl, Jaber, Ryan, and my wife.”
AWARE said theme for the mural is tied to October, the month of Life is Beautiful and Breast Cancer awareness.
“That being the case and having someone very close to me severely affected, I chose this as the subject of my mural. It seems that most people understand the painting better when they know the correlation with breast cancer.” CL