Photo: LeiAnn Huddleston.
Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, UNLV
(4505 S Maryland Parkway)
Through November 30, 2016
By D.K. Sole
I hesitate to call Mike Calway-Fagen’s one-person show "poetic" because the word is so often colloquially understood to mean sweetened mush, but the first time I saw it I had been reading William Kulik’s introduction to the "Selected Poems of Max Jacob" (Oberlin College Press, 1999), and I was thinking of the implicit joins or silences that poetry allows for. "Banana Strings" struck me as a way to continue that line of thought. One of my colleagues suggested that it was a show with many entrances, which it is, in that almost any piece can serve as the first piece, an introduction to the story of the rest. Is it a coincidence that the shadow inside "rigormortis tortoise", a black ceramic vase with a pie-slice cut out of the side, falls in the shape of a keyhole?
The artist on opening night (October 27) drew attention to the fact that the trefoil arrangement of singing pony costumes in "the nature of the venture" means you can stand between them, inside the work, but then where is the work, you might think -- where is the front of it, where does it start or stop -- especially when the audio coming out of the speakers bolted into the ponies' dark-fringed cartoon eyeholes travels all over the room, even into the narrow top balcony space where an ominous submarine rotates in a video loop against the wall?
My own mental entrance to "Banana Strings", the moment when I looked back at the gallery and saw the shadow-patterned gap in the vase forming an alignment with the music-filled space between the ponies, was a block of printed text in a collage titled "in full sight". It describes the behaviour of the male saiga antelope, who often dies during rutting season, "leaving most of the food supply to the females, who propagate the species." This notion of absence and fulfillment bubbling away in the same spot with a weird combination of biology and mechanical predictability (as if the saiga is not fully one thing or the other, or as if we are all both at once) looked like the key to some angle of perceptive intelligence that the show presents to its visitors without ever trying to disguise it as an answerable question.
D.K. Sole has worked at UNLV's Marjorie Barrick Museum since it changed its focus to fine art in 2012. An artist and former resident of Melbourne, Australia, she held her first one-woman Las Vegas show, 'Some Time Ago," in 2015 at Clark County's Winchester Gallery. She was co-manager for the highly praised downtown Las Vegas gallery, Satellite Contemporary.
Photo: LeiAnn Huddleston.
FIELD NOTES: A brief detour from the Paint This Desert tour of “Recent Acquisitions” at the Barrick gives a chance to look at a Monday pop-up installation on campus from the summer Design Fundamentals II-3D. Under David Rowe, this was the week students used Saran Wrap to shape life-sized sculpture that responded to the campus. Here Luis Henriquez talks about his work that had a spirit of street art. His figure is armed with a giant Q-tip cleaning out a sculpted ear. The ear was first installed as a student assignment some years ago and now maintained by campus services. Without critiquing the undergrads, I can still say these pop up people were a clever use of space and easily the lesson and process could lead to interesting works in the 18B Arts District streets during First Friday. Next Monday afternoon there will be another one day installation with the students using different materials.
Audrey Barcio and her small paintings reflected in a mirror sculpture from “There is more, but no more of this.” Photo: PtD
Mirrors, monitors, copper and masonite are some of the materials used in four segments of “There is more, but no more of this,” a new installation by Audrey Barcio, UNLV MFA Fine Art candidate. Her midway exhibition is designed to work in the small space of Grant Hall Gallery and the newly painted white walls and polished floors were the artist's own laborious immersive experience. That makes the room frame the paintings, sculpture, video and sound sending out multiple meanings, a connotation based on existential givens of human existence. There's also subtext commenting on those wandering from subjective religious ideals. “By asking us to make connections while examining the beginning and end, it brings us together in the immediate,” writes the artist in her statement. It opened yesterday. The artist reception is March 9, on Friday the 13th, at 6 pm. More at Facebook.
Also in this campus cycle, Shelbi Schroeder "Innocence and Deviance" is all about an artist responding to "notions of purity and corruption in normative sexuality. Using her body as a tool, she intervenes in daily female performance rituals." There will be a performance at 7 p.m. on Friday March, 13. More dates and times at Facebook.
Above: Opening Night at "Tilting The Basin" in Las Vegas