Las Vegas Weekly

December 19, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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A&E | FINE ART EXHIBIT WOULD YOU, COULD YOU? Blackbird's Dr. Seuss exhibit pays tribute to an icon > ZERO WASTED Nicolas Shake's exhibit makes good use of Vast's enormous space. Shake began by building installations of found objects in the desert and recording them in sensual photos that riff on the apocalyptic transience of our lives: the crashed housing market, jettisoned consumer goods, wrecked cars. Salvage archeology literally imprints 1 Is the Zero. Impressions of grocery carts and tires, made of the thinnest layers of Friendly Plastic, literally transport detritus from the scruffy fringes of Palmdale into the warehouse. The fragile Nicolas Shake plays with themes of presmaterials, pale cream colors and delicate threads sumence and absence inside Vast mon missing objects almost like ghosts. It's not the "1" of BY DAWN-MICHELLE BAUDE materiality or the "0" of nonexistence, but somewhere in between—tender representations that verge on disappearing into the suburban wasteland from which they came. 1 Is the Zero That Comes Before is the title of Nicolas The godforsaken desert of civilization haunts the Shake's haunting exhibition of paintings, sculptures and paintings, too. From small 32-inch by 24-inch works to a photo collages at Vast Space Projects' latest Henderson 9-feet-in-diameter disk, the canvases maintain the binary, location. The title's 1/0 refers to binary code—either with rectangles (1) and circular (0) shapes. something exists (1) or it doesn't (0). Shake More monochromic than Shake's earlier work, brings the now-you-see-it, now-you-don't they're covered with scratches and smears, phenomenon to his second solo exhibition. aaaac tire-tread pileups of paint, snippets of chainEmptiness and fullness, presence and absence, 1 IS THE ZERO link texture and gestural, layered brushwork. object and subject toggle back and forth in the THAT COMES The striking, gray-scale "Walking Through the mind and eyes. BEFORE Through Ashes," incorporates bits of Shake's photos in a Having room to maneuver helps. The 5,000February 1; round, mixed-media canvas that affectionately foot Vast warehouse, with its 20-plus-foot ceilSaturday, noontransforms an ephemeral patch of trashed-out ings, is a Moby Dick of a space, as "vast" as the 4 p.m., and by desert into a radar map of feeling. In a meetname implies. To keep his work from being appointment. Vast ing of the elements, "Diminishing Monolith" swallowed up, Shake constructed easels and Space Projects, recalls the strange opacity of color in the deep armatures to display paintings, lugged a ready727 Susanna Way, Mojave sky at the same time it summons the made faux-concrete lump from LA streets, 323-240-2888. tattered desert floor. erected a "wall" from his studio and posiBut the 1/0 theme is most explicit in "This Is tioned skate-ramp photo collages and "Friendly the Place," a site-specific photo collage incorporating cutPlastic" sculptures in the main space. A video interview up photos and the warehouse wall. The eye fills in the misswith the artist runs in a cozy office room, while a single ing middle of the work, framing the wall in an imaginary desert photograph—one of the stunning series that inaugurectangle. Touché. It's there, if you really look. rated Shake's career—hangs in the reception area. REVIEW ONES AND ZEROES 52 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM DECEMBER 19–25, 2013 52_Fine_Art_1_20131219.indd 52 When paying tribute to an inimitable illustrator and rhyming virtuoso responsible for inspiring millions of children to read, there's plenty to work with. After all, this is the guy who'd tirelessly spin gleeful whimsy and turn the world upside down just for fun. Not surprisingly, fun is what to expect at Blackbird Studio's Dr. Seuss, A Tribute, where dozens of artists pay DR. SEUSS, respect to the A TRIBUTE late Theodor Through Seuss Geisel. January 26. Keeping with Blackbird the tradition Studios, 1551 of Blackbird's S. Commerce themed group St., 782-0319. exhibits—Peewee Herman, Brothers Grimm and atomic testing, to name a few—Blackbird owner Gina Quaranto opened the door and let come what may. Among portraits of the whitehaired and bearded Geisel in glasses are renderings and takeoffs from his numerous children's books, with some artists merging their own world with Seuss' fictional plane. There's a surrealisttinged Alice in Wonderland-style subterranean landscape blended with a Seussian world, a traditional portrait of the Cat in the Hat in a gilded frame and fantastic construction of Lisa Dittrich's mounted "WhoDeer" head. Among the nice surprises is Christel Polkowski's "Happy Fingers Academy," a painting featuring Bart Collins, the boy character from the Suess-written fantasy film, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.—a commercial and critical failure, but a Seussical project nonetheless. –Kristen Peterson 1 IS THE NEW ZERO BY CHECKO SALGADO 12/18/13 4:12 PM

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