FIELD NOTES: My MFA career at UNLV winds down with an invitation to the public to visit the artist’s studios, in my case a former classroom in the oldest building on campus, Grant Hall. The current MFA Candidates are across the street in GRA, a former Carl's Jr . . . As the pitch says the evening will be a way to see MFA's work in progress. For us short-timers it is a chance to hold a fire sale. ANOTHER PITCH: I planned to use the last few weeks to get final studio time in, so there may be non-Bunko stuff to see. Or you can pick up a BUNKO box for ten bucks. Some are spoken for, but a few will be available.
ALSO: That evening will also be the closing reception for the talented Nanda Sharif-Pour’s MFA Midway Exhibition, “Alienation.” That will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. . . . Incoming Artists: There is exciting work by UNLV BFA students Amanda Keating, Clarice Cuda, Julie Meyers, Nicole Weber, Sarah Arnold and Ty Suksangasophon. They will talk about their work at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art Auditorium at 6 p.m. The exhibition and opening reception at Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery will be from 7:30 to 9 p.m. . . Last but not least: Laura Brennan's Thesis exhibition, "Transience," will be from June 8 - June 22. The reception will be June 15, 2018, at the Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery.
By Roudi Boroumand
Since its birth four years ago the Nevada Women’s Film Festival has honored women's contributions to film in support of fair representation in the medium. In a short few years the festival has grown and now showcases works by talented female filmmakers from around the world, and from the region.
This year Nevada Women's Film Festival announced their first Nevada Woman of Achievement recipient, Diana Eden, an alumnus of Art and Archeology at the University of Toronto. Eden danced for the National Ballet of Canada before a career in costume design for film, TV and stage that begin in 1974 she was first offered a job; to design and coordinate the wardrobe for Ann Margaret and her dancers performing at Cesar’s Las Vegas. That led to assisting Bob Mackie in designing costumes for Jubilee!. From there Eden’s career flourished and expanded into film, television and theater.
On the festival's opening night, KNPR’s State of Nevada host and producer Carrie Kaufman moderated a talk with Eden at the Eclipse Theater, who advised the audience that while most schools lack a costume design program, those with a passion for design should learn to draw and cut, take courses in theater and film, and learn to work with actors.
“Script is everything.” Eden said. After an idea is pitch, producers hire the heads of the main creative departments, and costume and production design work together to create the characters’ look. The most rewarding moment for the designers is when the actors feel the story and the mood of a script is helped by costume and production design, said Eden.
Much of her career was spent working in TV, which has its own challenges: strict time constraints, an indeterminate lifespan of TV productions, and the possibility that the project may never be picked up. Yet while those in the profession are always hustling for the next job, Eden found success for decades. She fondly recalled how in the Polaroid era of the 70’s she would send designs via FedEx, a process that today is done digitally.
By the 90’s female studio executives became more prolific in the entertainment industry, but those in Eden's profession were subject to another form of industry elitism. She was once nominated for an Emmy but was not invited to the awards ceremony since her position was considered a below-the-line production cost.
Even with general obstacles in the profession, Eden said most of her career opportunities were given to her by women.
Since her return to Las Vegas in 2008, Eden has collaborated with local productions by sharing her experiences, and lecturing on design for UNLV's College of Fine Arts.
NWFFest 2018 also held panels answering to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. The festival ran from March 22-25 at the Eclipse Theaters.
Roudi Boroumand is a Nevada-based indie filmmaker, film studies writer and translator. Roudi has published work both in English and Persian on major figures of cinema and film analysis, and has been a collaborator with Cine-Eye and Cinema Scandinavia film magazines. She is a graduate of Portland State University and North West Film Center in Portland and currently an MFA candidate in Writing for Dramatic Media at University of Las Vegas Nevada.
Sacred Allegory (detail), about 1500-1504, Giovanni Bellini, tempera (?) and oil on wood panel. Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence. Photo credit: Scala/Ministero per i Beni e le Attività culturali / Art Resource, NY
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. She loves art.
By D.K. Sole
I was haunted all last year by a shape – by the roughly triangular patch of air framed by the elbow of the woman in [Jean-François] Millet's "Shearing Sheep" (1852-53). I saw the painting at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art in February 2017. . It teased me, the way this central triangle seemed to concentrate and focus – like a prism – the foggy atmosphere of tenderness that hung over the rest of the picture.
Why did I grip that detail? Did it seem so infinitely suggestive to other people? I never discussed it with anybody.
Instead – and this turned out to be something like a substitute for discussion – I visited the small Bellini exhibition at the Getty in January 2018. Here was an artist who had devoted attention to small areas of intensely-realized appearance. This exhibition, which was named "Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice," asked you to look at the painter's intelligent use of the countryside around his city. "One of the most influential painters of the Renaissance, he worked in and around Venice," explained the text, "and while his landscapes are highly metaphorical, they also accurately reflect the region’s topography and natural light."
I found that I wanted to look at the little things he had made: the judicious crumbs of light along the side of a reed-like plant growing out of a crack in the rock, or a single skull as carefully shaded as the rocks around it, in the bottom third of a crucifixion.
No one who came across a real landscape like the one in "St Jerome Reading in the Wilderness" (1505) would see a lizard, a pebble, and a cliff with riveting, equal clarity all at once, as the painting does. The implied glance in the Millet is more casual: the colouration of the scene suggests a hazy blur, telling us we have scanned it rapidly and come back with a convincing, incomplete impression, softly stirred by our emotions. The softness of this painted glance exists in tension with the stern, buried architecture of the composition. But Bellini's attention fuses attention with the viewer's eye. He paints a stare. He puts his areas of attention in a more ambiguous emotional territory.
This St Jerome asks: are you capable of the intensity he has assigned to you? Does intensity evade the devotional purpose of the painting or help to define it? These smart treasures scattered across the countryside of the work are a machine to save the devotee from boredom.
You look. The tiles and fenceposts in "Sacred Allegory" (c. 1500 – 1504) are so neat that you imagine him tracing along the edge of a ruler, as if his hands are still remembering the day when his teacher showed them how to make perspective. You decide that teacher must have been his father, Jacopo, since painting was the family business. Thinking about the amount of time it would have taken to create the work you conclude that the family was stable and prosperous, with a reliable clientele. There must have been physical space dedicated to Bellini's work and people around him who respected what he was doing. He had some area that functioned as "a room of one's own." No wonder he appealed to Ruskin, so quickly moved to anxiety and a sense of loss. Nothing is lost in Bellini, you think. When he wants to pull your attention away from something he often just blots it a little darker. That's why the red trousers on the shepherd in the background by Christ's wrist in "Christ Blessing" (c. 1500) are less noticeable than the clear brown tips of the curls on Christ's shoulders. Online reproductions make the trousers look like mud.
Christ's eyes point in different directions and the area around the one on the left is asymmetrically large. The Getty's label says he is "gazing straight at the viewer as if lost in thought." As I stood in front of the painting I imagined this a little further. The weird set of the eyes meant that the figure was not gazing at me even though his face was aimed in my direction. It was difficult to say if this was the expression of a person who was seeing or thinking anything at all. Rising from the dead, his brain was still trying to bring the physical world into focus. A point about the division between material and immaterial worlds had been made through the invention and subsequent tolerance of this physiognomic strangeness.
Looking around the room with that in mind, I felt that the uncanny amount of attention Bellini paid to everything had given each stone or house its own state of invisible, private interior being, concurrent with its presence in the visible world of landscape and sea. They were insistently with me but I would never be able to absorb them. He preferred the three-quarter view of heads, the face that turned to the viewer and still meditated on itself. (Did the odd distance between Christ's eyes come originally from this habit of depicting people with their heads turned? Bellini: Cubist.) That was the style of the age, but this shadowy room at the Getty isolated it in Bellini alone, and I was surrounded by faces half-aside and stones that existed both in and behind their shading.
In Bellini, unlike Millet, the prisms of attention suggested individual thingness rather than the existence of a wider emotion. The Venetian treated his objects with the mindfulness that French painter's woman gave to her half-shorn sheep, tracing the contours of its skin with care and never jabbing the surface with her scissors.
Giovanni Bellini, "Christ Blessing," circa 1500. Getty Museum
"Temple of the Artifacts" 2018
Screen printed cardboard. Sculpture representing boxes for future relics.