Lighten-up – Various Artists
Light a path into the new year with an array of dazzling and whimsical handmade ceramic lamps. The illuminated clay creations take on all manner of forms: from genie-in-a-lamp by Stephanie Sterling, a treetop Tiffany lamp by Linda Le Bourveau, gargoyle candelabra by KD Matheson or desert-inspired bulbs by Don Webber and Coni Kalinowski.
Kalinowski: “Our process in making these lamps also resonates with my experience of hiking the desert. At each turn there is a surprise, a spontaneity, a dynamic interaction with the land (or in this case, the clay) that is personal and transcendent. Much like the hoodoos of Goblin Valley, each lamp has its own personality and voice. Though one’s attention is immediately drawn to the ‘principal’ lamp in red, closer inspection reveals the character, unique beauty and humor of the members of the ‘corps de lampes,’ a reminder that our contributions in the course of ordinary life are nevertheless precious and irreplaceable parts of a greater whole.”
Webber: “I am a macro-photographer who has been drawn, willingly I might add, into the world of ceramics. It was suggested by one of the owners of CAV (Clay Arts Vegas) that I work with Coni on this project. Honestly, to begin with, I was highly skeptical of free-flowing organic shapes as lamps. I was more focused on making the steps of creation work rather than what our creation would mirror or represent from reality, (yet) there is a definite mirroring of the undulating hills of Zion in each piece. The stark raw edges are a reminder of hiking on Frenchman Mountain and trails in the desert.”
Le Bourveau: “I’m really very fond of the type of art pottery that was produced in the early 1900s known as the Arts and Crafts Period. I’m also very taken with the works of Tiffany. I visualized a tree with a canopy that would show light through it. It posed a little problem as how to get light shinning through something made out of clay, but the answer came to me when I thought of a Tiffany lamp. It would have to have stained glass in it, of course! The result is a combination of clay and glass and was pretty challenging to figure out. I hope you’ll enjoy the result!”
Through Jan. 30, Clay Arts Vegas, 1511 S. Main St., www.clayartsvegas.com
Nathan Cote - Cannibals, Survivalists and the Plus Ultra Habitat
The impulse to survive at any cost is dramatically illustrated in the compelling mixture of vegetal growth experimentation and photography of artist Nathan Cote.
Cote: “The observation came in passing, as I found a few leftover yams in our kitchen and as I said to myself out loud, ‘Negligence always leads to cannibalism.’ I laughed but the phrase stuck with me. It brought a recollection of gardening as a child and how our seed potatoes, left in the cellar, always sprouted long roots in their burlap sacks. They appeared to struggle, growing through their packaging, in hopes of reaching soil. In order to grow as they did, the energy for their growth came from their food stores, thereby cannibalizing themselves. Recently I have been growing vegetables in my garage and considering the synthetic environments created to optimize growth and light under the concealment of a home.”
Jan. 2 through Feb. 2, Contemporary Art Center, at ALIOS, 1217 S. Main St., www.lasvegascac.org
Tanya Michelle – Let Me Re-Introduce Myself
From cassette tapes to dartboard decals, artist Tanya Michelle offers up a vibrant blend of graffiti and vintage iconography.
Michelle: “My inspiration and thought process come spontaneously to me. Honestly, I paint what feel. I try not to think about it too much. I just turn on my music, pour some wine and let it out through paint and canvas, paper and pencil or by computer. Any medium gets the artwork across for me. It’s all about the execution of it.
“Creating ‘MIXTAPE’ was spontaneous. It came from Beyoncé’s new album. I’m not big B fan, but when you hear a classic CD you know it, and this CD is her best one to me. She provokes so many sexy and fun emotions in me and I had to paint it out. Now that I think about it, the whole collection is based off of Mrs. Carter’s CD and videos that I played when I was painting. LOL. She has a song and video called YONCE and it reminded me of re-mix street mixtape songs from back in the days, sexy but gritty, and the colors and layers I painted came from the video.”
Through January, Tastyspace, 520 Fremont St. Suite 150 (inside Emergency Arts), www.facebook.com/tastyspace
Eric Vozzola – Based on Real Life
Every day hundreds of things are abandoned to donation purgatory. Artist Eric Vozzola wrests these objects from a premature afterlife and combines them with bold graphics and minimalist painted abstraction to invest them with new life and new stories to tell.
Vozzola: “As a graphic designer by trade, I’m tasked with pulling seemingly random images and ideas together to create something totally new for commercial use. I decided to take this practice and turn it into a more tangible and visceral art form, and expose it in a whole different environment. I definitely have to sift through the random clutter, and curate objects, mostly based on aesthetics, interesting positive/negative space, or just outright humor. Using my usual vibrant color palette and design techniques, I mask out the images with enamel paint, in order to completely take them out of their original context. It’s pretty amazing when the connections and dialogues start emerging once I have a group of ambiguous (and colorful) images. I also start thinking about when and where these objects came from, who used to own them, what stories they used to tell, why they were ‘left to die,’ and how I’m going to give them a new life, a new story.”
Through Jan. 5, Wall Gallery, 520 Fremont St. (inside Emergency Arts), www.facebook.com/5thwall