Desert Flower Power Landscape” by J.K. Russ at the Rotunda Gallery at the Government Center. Photo: PaintThisDesert
'Desert Flower Power Landscape'
Clark County Government Center Rotunda Gallery
Through September 14
Opening Reception and Artist Talk August 2 (Preview Thursday) 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Guest Performance by members of UNLV Dance Club at 6.30 p.m.
Scattered in the vast cavern of the county's governing rotunda are abstract boulders made up by 12 bean bag chairs. It is “Desert Flower Power Landscape,” an installation by J.K. Russ originally curated by Justin Favela and Mikala Whitmore: a mix of new images with an informal anthropological study of reclining culture.
The bean bag chairs standing in for boulders are blanketed by small rugs embedded with photography-based collage. Everything works to mark life in desert landscapes. You see Valley locals photographed by Russ in May of 2017 laying on the retro fabric sculptures like sunning lizards, their bodies with cactus flower anatomy standing in as faces. It is flora growing out of rocks.
“Desert Flower Power Landscape” crafts a hippie-esque mellow vibe that says living objects, a fixed form of being, can deal with the conflicts of living in harsh conditions. It also shows art in a controlled space having the same chaotic elegance seen in the desert, where rocks and sand rushed in from storms have settled in and allowed life to grow from it.
“This is smart,” said one person who took a moment to test the comfort of a mixed-material boulder. Others were already lingering, passing the time while they waited for someone to get out of a government queue. Sitters are encouraged to take photos and share them on social media with hashtags #desertflowerpower, #jkruss and #rotundagallery. Yet the art with self-produced image goes beyond surface interaction on Instagram. Those who capture themselves with the Russ rocks are at one with art that is a divergent use of official space. It is a bean-bag in.
Photos by PaintThisDesert
Donna Beam Gallery
Through October 26, 2018
FOUNDER + WRITER
G. James Daichendt