Vegas Shoe. North end of Las Vegas, 2012. Courtesy Antonio Gomez.
FIELD NOTES: A June 2014 visit to the office of photographer Antonio Gomez came after being introduced to his color work in his solo show,”Six Years of Solitude,” an exhibition at Brett Wesley gallery a year earlier. His series of isolated Luche Libre was based on a childhood recall of “El Blue Demon” and is stirring emotional work from an artist who dealt with solitude during uncertain migration to the U.S. from Mexico.
During the visit Gomez shared other sets, including one that is a recurring theme from artists working in Las Vegas; the juxtaposition of reality and the simulated. That set by Gomez is now featured online at National Geographic’s “Focus.”
When choosing which images to pair, Gomez considers three approaches. Along the lines of contrast, Gomez juxtaposes scenes that highlight the contradictory nature of Las Vegas, often building on the theme of Vegas as an adult playground. The second category is comprised of scenes that are physically or psychologically related, such as a similar object in a different context.
That June visit also introduced me to his series of Mexican charrerías, or rodeos, that’s a contemporary connection to Mexican cinema, and by no accident, a connection to the compositions of Los Tres Grandes, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Siqueiros.
Gomez teaches photography at CSN.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.