Lisa Stamanis’ intimate installation has an uncompromising title: “Lucky to be Alive (The Healing Room).” With determined baby steps and art as an invention to recovery, there is an understanding to the meaning of healing. Time still exists, and Stamanis is happy to pick and choose how to use that time, including this long-awaited return to her own artistic practice.
It is possible, thanks to some personal traits. “My stubbornness and my will,” says Stamanis. “I feel lucky and grateful.”
The Las Vegas cultural enabler was a founding member of the Contemporary Arts Collective and an arts administrator for the City of Las Vegas since 1994. She retired in 2014 after suffering a brain hemorrhage. In converting Winchester Culture Center Gallery into an environment of healing, hinting of a medical facility, she shares being alive with a festive outlook, despite the hardships that come from dodging a final bed rest.
The skills that are beginning to come back shine in this exhibition and speaks to personal strength. “Everything you know as normal is gone,” she says. “I made it through and now pushing forward.”
A bed sits in the middle of the room: an industrial frame covered with bling seems prepared to be a chariot to the heavens. A disco ball and music are subtext from the subconscious, making Donna Summer and others a soundtrack of youth, a Greek Chorus of physical freedom, back when walking or using a paint brush wasn’t a laborious routine. Your mind may hum along other songs if you are from the same generation (“Staying Alive” is my request to the DJ).
On the curved wall of Winchester there are Cy Twombly/Jean-Michel Basquiat-like scrawls that bump up to the entrance of the gallery. The scribbles take shape with a “hello,” a greeting from the artist. That “hello” is also a welcome back to living life as an artist. It can be read when one leaves the representation of a cancelled wake, back into a lobby of the real world.
"Lucky to be Alive (The Healing Room)"
Through Feb. 16 at Winchester Gallery
Opening Reception Thursday, January 18, 6 - 8 p.m.
Gallery Talk Saturday, January 27, 2018. 11:00 a.m.
Clark County Winchester Cultural Center Gallery
During the “Lucky to be Alive (The Healing Room)" reception, Lisa Stamanis will present companion pieces curated under the title of the “Thank You Project,” a collection of original artwork by other artists that will to be gifted to Las Vegas doctors, nurses, police officers and firefighters. "The 'Thank You Project” is an experimental performance work involving artists and their artwork in a giving, healing gesture to the Las Vegas caregiver community,” says Stamanis. A selection of the donated arts works will be displayed and presented to recipients during the artists reception.
Cabin in the Sky, 1966. Oil on board, 72 x 58 3/4 inches. Private collection
Eduardo Carrillo’s (1937-1997) was an artist who introduced the mural as urban social practice while at UCLA. His paintings are the subject of "Testament of the Spirit" at Pasadena Museum of California Art., which opens later this month. My post about the exhibition is up at LAObserved.
Above: Stephen Hendee created sculpture for the celebration of 30 years of public art programming in the City of Las Vegas.