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First Friday roundup

<p>Painting by Michael Foulkrod</p>

Painting by Michael Foulkrod

Abigail Goldman

So Sorry

Splotches of blood mar neatly manicured lawns, mini shrubs, tiny houses, fences and trees. In a short time, artist Abigail Goldman has become known for her disturbingly hilarious miniature murder dioramas.

Goldman: “‘Early Checkout,’ like all of my dioramas, is an attempt to capture and contain a ripple of rage. It’s a dingy yellow motel. There’s a shooting out front, a dead man floating the pool and people barbecuing their friends for dinner. Dead people, people about to be dead, people being cannibalized. Murder in miniature that you can gawk at. That you can possess. That you can reel back from then lean in for more, like craning your neck to see a car accident. The more violent the diorama, the more absurd; the more absurd, the more amusing. The truth is, there’s just a razor’s edge between what’s grotesque and what’s funny, and someone’s got to slide down it.”

Trifecta Gallery, 107 E. Charleston No. 135, www.trifectagallery.com

Various Artists

Exchange

Whether you’re into comic book collage, paintings with gold or sound sculptures involving cactus hooked up to an amplifier, the diverse group show at Amanda Harris has a little something for everyone.

Sandra Chevrier: “When I paint, I want the soul to emanate from the subject’s gaze. It creates an engaging story you can’t pull yourself away from — you just get lost in it. I use delicate but also loose and heavy textures of paint that make the woman seem to be emerging from the surreal world within the canvas. In this particular piece you can see Superman just before his death, struggling against the enemy and showing that even superheroes can be fragile.”

Sarah Lytle: “About a year ago, I had a little extra black paint on a palette knife. Not wanting to waste it, I haphazardly slapped it down on a small canvas. Next day, absent-mindedly, I gave the blob of paint some eyes. A funky hairdo followed. Some friends were in my Santa Barbara studio, saw the blob with eyes and funky hair and liked it … they asked to see more … and so the crows were hatched from the abstracts.”

Amanda Harris Gallery of Contemporary Art, 900 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Suite 150, amandaharrisgallery.com

Sam Blanchard

Older and Overwhelmed

Right around age 34, amid the stress, bills and career anxieties, we also become acutely aware that our bodies aren’t what they used to be. Blanchard takes a humorous look at our thoughts and feelings as we cope with the aging process. A mini digital projector mounted to small car on a model roller coaster beams the image of a middle-aged jogger, huffing along, stopping for breaks.

Blanchard: “As a kid I had two classic ’80s posters on my wall: one, a red Lamborghini Countach parked in the cobblestoned carport of a Gothic mansion; the other, an F-17 jet (Top Gun-style) on an aircraft carrier with hundreds of bombs, missiles and bullets splayed out like a buffet on the deck beyond its nose. I can draw parallels to these prepubescent altars in ‘Run, Run Rollercoaster (… this used to be easier …).’ I can see the intricacy of construction, an interest in systems and packaging, making things fit in a discrete, iconic form like the F-17 jet and its munitions. I also see a struggle for an ideal, an ideal that was once so easily defined in materialism. As a kid it was simple, Lamborghini = success, and I suppose it still does in some ways, but for now running four blocks without keeling over would do just as well.”

Contemporary Art Center, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., www.lasvegascac.org

Jeffrey Cortland Jones

After Closer, Still

Warm and cool tones separated by a sharp sliver and line spawn subtle tensions; a paper cut on an existential edge.

Jones: “’Avalanche’ is sparse, delicate, wobbly. It’s an excited whisper that’s about to erupt; a stable stack on the verge of collapse; something that has very little physical weight yet visually starts to pull downward. … It’s very simple at first glance but requires a slow viewing and processing. I have a responsibility to reward the viewer for spending time with the work and to those who look past ‘white’. I want the viewer to notice shifts: from warm to cool, and how white can be both at the same time; from the mostly matte surface to the little tinge of gloss that hangs out near an edge, and what happens as that edge softens.”

RTZvegas 1017 S. First St., Suite 195 www.rtzvegas.com, 592.2164

Michael Foulkrod

Oil Paintings

Classically painted with a bizarre mixture of accessories — from aviator goggles and a pair of star-shaped pasties to Viking helmet and a can of Redbull — the props and models ferment in Foulkrod’s portraits.

Foulkrod: “People are expressing themselves based on past style trends, which overlap … making a creative identity to call their own. I call it the pre-Blade Runner era. It’s been my own private reality TV show of vanity.

“I usually paint two portraits of the model and give one to them, so that painting will travel through the family into the future, letting them look back at who they were today.”

Downtown Contemporary, artSquare, 1025 First St. No. 145, downtown-contemporary.com