Crass Doesn’t Sell
Attacking corporate consumerism and knocking the “sacred” act of art-making down a few pegs are not novel ways to shake up the establishment. However, it’s kinda hard not to notice a guy wielding a chainsaw within proximity of his pelvic region, as depicted in one of Brent Holmes twisted faux adverts. So, now that you have our attention, care to elaborate?
Holmes: “Called ‘Peso,’ this piece shows us a male figure, dressed in the working-class garb of a carpenter or lumberjack, castrating a phallic log protruding from his pants … a modern man in self-defeating turmoil. His head is a wooden square and he’s framed by floral designs pulled from the Mexican peso. The inclusion of the imagery from the Mexican peso is a both a sly aside to the failing Mexican economy and the government’s bitter emasculation as a country, as well as the frustration and powerlessness we all experience toward contemporary economic concerns.
“The bizarre nature of the image is offset by its presentation: Everything from lighting, framing and typography are calculated to bring to mind traditional advertising imagery; a craftsman ad from a nightmarish shadow dimension. The use of the visual language of commercial advertisement is intentional, meant to draw the viewer in with familiar presentation and shock them with unusual subject matter. The piece uses photography techniques known for their shallowness to plumb weird and frightening psychosexual depths.”
303 North Studio, Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., No. 115, www.facebook.com/303NorthStudio
Picking up where Warhol left off, street artist Benjamin Alejandro is silk-screening a new cast of celebrity icons. With one difference: He uses their mug shots.
Alejandro: “I did do a bit of choosing on who I silkscreen, but most importantly I do believe these people, including [Lindsay Lohan], choose themselves to carry on such lives that do play a role in our modern culture — whether they play sports, act in movies, make music, etc. We are all human and encounter dilemmas in our paths. Good and bad, we continue and grow, all in our own ways … success is a journey.”
Amanda Harris Gallery of Contemporary Art, 900 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Suite 150, www.amandaharrisgallery.com/Amanda_Harris_Gallery_of_Contemporary_Art
SHANNON EAKINS AND MARC DOMBROSKY
Shadows kept separate, shy of the light
Three furry heads with rubber teeth wag and groan, snapping ineffectually at passing viewers. The lack of attempt to conceal the automated scaffolding turns Shannon Eakins’ makeshift Cerberus into a vulnerable melancholy beast. Across the hall, Marc Dombrosky litters the floor with items discarded by released inmates behind the downtown Las Vegas jail, like so many bits and pieces from an archeological dig being catalogued. Between the doleful guardian of Hades and the mysterious remnants of incarceration, the tone is set for a journey into dark, mournful places.
Dombrosky: “Both installations address a descent, whether to hell or perhaps an economic, historical or internal descent. They may also propose forgetting in a way — or obfuscation perhaps — and the act of descending may likewise intone failure, loss, alienation or just a slipping away. In this vein, the works also answer a self-imposed imperative to recycle components from previous projects; recombining pieces to resuscitate meaning, like strolling down a shattered memory lane or reconstructing Frankenstein without having all the parts — making do with what’s available.”
5th Wall Gallery, Emergency Arts, 520 Fremont St., www.facebook.com/5thwall