GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

September 4, 2014

Las Vegas Weekly

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50 September 4–10, 2014 A& E | FINE ART 'Evolutional parody' John stoelting's Trifecta exhibit goes places few have even imagined If you remove the arms from a toy soldier designed to be in a fighting position on the ground, he will resemble someone in the midst of a glorious swan dive. Back arched, head forward, legs, well, not as taut as they could be, but there's an effort. Exquisite. Throw him on a large onion, put a crown on his head and a minimalist tail feather on his lower back, and he be- comes a sexually dimorphous version of soldier as particular species, a crea- ture that has morphed and adapted to its new physical self, or possibly is its accepted natural self. The evolving, adapting and resource- ful nature of "Hummingbird" and other figures is the basis of John Stoelting's Going Places: Fish and Supermen, an exhibit dabbling in "evolutional parody." Loosely inspired by Sandy Squir- rel from the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants, (where her rodent underwater lifestyle is an accepted way of life), Stoelting created a fabulous land-fish equipped with its own scuba gear. From there, it evolved, so to speak, as a humorous consideration of expectations, normalcy and, most of all, embracing change. –Kristen Peterson In the de-skilling of studio arts in the last half-century, life drawing took a hit. Why waste time drawing nudes when computer programs render the human body in a few curt clicks? What's the point of doing something that's been done before, anyway? At a time when contemporary art favors cultural commentary and social cri- tique, isn't life drawing just a redun- dant academic exercise? These questions saturate Cristina Paulos' Rhythm, Line and Stroke exhi- bitions like ink on Fabriano paper. Her gendered life-drawing shows feature 13 female nudes at TastySpace Gallery and 18 male nudes at the Winchester Cultural Center. Paulos uses a range of mate- rials—from Conté crayons to Rit fabric dyes—to ren- der her figures on an array of surfaces, from cardboard to canvas. Formats stretch from 11 inches by 14 inches to 60 inches by 44 inches. They span 15 years. Since Paulos signs and dates few of her works, putting the drawings in sequence in order to identify the evolution and hallmarks of her style is a challenge. Two distinct tenden- cies appear: One is realistic, the other gestural. In general, the realistic works are earlier, and appear to show the influence of Cal Arts animation stud- ies, in which accuracy of depiction is a badge of accomplishment. They are pleasant, but seem restricted by duty. In contrast, the gestural works rein- vest the figure with a quirky vitality. In the strongest among them, Paulos does more than depict the human body: she abstracts its emotional content. At TastySpace, a work like "Female in Movement" attests to the primal need to make a mark, to leave a trace, not of an exact rendering, but of an engorged experience of seeing. The female form is, upon scrutiny, recogniz- able—the head, breasts, the leg—but rather than fixing these aspects of the body in static, predictable composi- tion, Paulos renders them quickly, in a gestural style communicating erotic content. Desire—of art, of seeing, of the physical pleasure in making marks on paper, of sexual satisfaction— is what's portrayed here. Overall, the TastySpace works are more sensual; the drawings displayed at Winchester are more aggressive, and, as in the case of the screaming "Rock Star," even disturbing. The large-format pieces seem labored, but among the smaller formats, there are gems. "African Musician 02," for example, melds Giacometti and de Kooning techniques in a com- plex, interesting style all Paulos' own. One takeaway from this two- pronged exhibition is that life draw- ing never loses its relevance. In today's sanitized art climate, with its clean, neat, computer-generated contours, there's a place for precari- ous, handmade representations of the human form. Paulos' emotional inter- pretations of the figure likely convey more accurate information about the intimate human condition than digi- talized precision ever could. aaabc Rhy thm, LinE And StRokE Through October 10; TastySpace Gallery, 617-513- 7336 & Winchester Cultural Center, 702-455-7340. drawing conclusions cristina Paulos depicts a broad range of desires in her two-gallery show by Dawn-michelle bauDe > nAkEd City Paulos' drawings are up at Tastyspace and Win- chester through october 10. GoinG PLACES: FiSh And SuPERmEn Through September 26; Wednesday & Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Trifecta Gallery, 702-366-7001. Opening reception September 4, 6-9 p.m.

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