Las Vegas Sun

April 19, 2019

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"Hifalutin," an exhibit opening tonight at Dust Gallery, brings Lisa Stefanelli and Peter Fox - two abstract painters with uncommon techniques - back to Las Vegas.

Once a competitive figure skater, Stefanelli creates eye-grabbing abstract forms that take viewers on a wild ride through a continuum of dense loops and curves, which appear both free and controlled.

"The language of what you see is a physical manifestation of how I became aware of myself," says the Pennsylvania artist, whose work was shown recently at Mark Moore Gallery in Los Angeles. "And there's no way to get away from movement and motion and how I learned to move."

Creating the work is a three-step process that begins in a body shop, where Stefanelli uses translucent auto paint and a spray gun to create the appearance of an infinite landscape. From there she takes the panel to her New York studio and draws the forms in enamel paint. After that, she covers them with clear coat.

The result is so smooth and fluid that it looks, from a distance, as if it were poured on. Though strategically drawn, creating the forms, she says, isn't always a conscious effort: "They tell me what to do."

Working on a 360-degree easel, Stefanelli almost always creates the images in red: "Sometimes I have to do blue just to make sure that red is the right color."

Fox's colorful, textured works, anchored in multicolored stripes, are what he refers to as strategically arranged accidents. The paintings are about paint and viscosity and creative drips .

Using a syringelike tool, the Brooklyn artist applies paint to a panel that drips onto a canvas. The intermingling paint creates a world of its own.

Fox controls the density, timing and color mixtures. "It's almost like setting up accidents. I watch the accidents enough so I know how they'll happen."

The result is rich works designed to explore the language of abstract paintings. Fox started the process about four years ago using eye-droppers to drip paint on sculptural objects. It was, he says, "almost like a conceptual gag. The more I did it the more I saw things happen."

Both artists were featured at Dust for the "NY LV" show in January 2005. Gallery owner Naomi Arin says the response was so great that she invited them back to do a show together.

Details: Artists' reception, 6 to 8 p.m. today; Dust Gallery, 1221 S. Main St.; 880-3878,

Ballet under the stars

In a preseason performance, Nevada Ballet Theatre presents "Ballet Under the Stars," a two-hour outdoor performance in Summerlin featuring pas de deux and other dances from the company's repertoire.

The company officially kicks off its 35th anniversary season with a gala on Sept. 15 at Lake Las Vegas.

Details: "Ballet Under the Stars," 8 p.m. Saturday, gates open at 6:30 p.m., picnics welcome; Hills Park, Summerlin; $15, $5 for children 12 and younger; 243-2623,

Arts enrichment

Opportunity Village, which serves mentally impaired Southern Nevadans, recently added an arts program to its offerings and is planning to add a gallery and performing arts center to its third campus.

The nonprofit organization, which offers vocational training and social and recreational programs, is unveiling plans today for a $33 million campus at Buffalo Road and Patrick Lane.

The gallery will showcase work by Opportunity Village clients. The performing arts center will be used for benefit shows and to invite dancers and performers from the community to work with clients.

The program was started more than two months ago after the staff visited programs in other communities.

Linda Smith, chief development officer at Opportunity Village, says artistically and musically inclined clients have been training at Opportunity Village .

"It's an outlet," Smith says. "We have one man who has very severe autism. He will always need to be in a protected environment. We put a paintbrush in his hand and he created some art that we sold three weeks ago for $270."