Clarice in Downtown Las Vegas Photo: Ed Fuentes
Not many in Las Vegas consider Clarice Tara Cuda the kind of artist who needs encouragement. Anyone who keeps track of the local art scene has seen her work and she can be considered one of the wisest artist who has landed in town recently.
It came after hard thinking and listening to herself. In fact, you can feel her listening to you as she studies your gestures, sometimes glancing away to break from eye contact briefly, then quickly return to create an honest moment. Like describing herself as someone who once missed making art and decided to take her work seriously.
That came after some reflection. “I knew in my heart that…” she starts to say, as if a reluctant confession was about to escape her “I know I didn’t put in the work.” Then she beams a smile that says she knows art is about curating moments.
Clarice reintroduced herself to her inner creator by working in a tattoo shop where she revisited her skills in capturing the details of forms and shapes. Then she worked a desk at a local gallery. That also helped. It was there she displayed her, what was then new work, and met the local art community one person at a time.
She had courses at CSN and UNLV. Clarice says it was a UNLV sculpture class that changed the way she produced ideas. Also, it was there she began to understand how a body, hers, could be an art subject, not object, infiltrating physical space that details her personal philosophy. Right after earning her BFA she changed the expectations of a growing clan of followers with “Dissonance,” a performance of live binding with fish line that was a spiritual declaration of “taking away the traditional concepts of beauty in the body.”
Despite her constant weaving of ideas and materials, Clarice is consistent. She challenges outdated declarations of beauty. That was seen recently by her wearing a 1950-ish outfit while lights bathed her in pinks and blues, all symbols of gender roles, while posed behind a display window of a former retail store. It was a concept and performance that came from a collaboration with Amanda Keating. People stepped up to the quiet spectacle and were encouraged to replicate gestures; an intimate mirroring of movement.
For the artists, it was about moving past pain and love by using small gentle slow gestures that quietly coaxed and dared viewers to mirror emotions. Sometimes she allowed them to take the lead, which she gave them, so she can gently take it back. Then it was kept in a safe place for both. Some want to infiltrate the physical and emotional space. They couldn’t. A barrier was there; a thick glass window. That was at “Still Life” for Art Basel in Miami produced for Raw Pop Up. Just this year. Art Basel. Clarice is not yet 30. Only a few years ago her creative space was a tattoo parlor. Now she protects her art within a protocol of performance, a safe barrier that allows her eyes to listen.
ABOVE: Gig Depio
“Through the Muddy”
2017-18 480” x 144”
Oil on Canvas
An Online Arts Journal
February 2 – March 31, 2019
and Gallery Talk:
Sunday, February 10, 2019,
4 p.m.–7 p.m.
S P O N S O R