Las Vegas Sun

February 21, 2019

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Valley artists unify for show focusing on work of diminutive scale and price


Sam Morris

Three paintings by Amy Sol, at left, sold out even before the show “minUMENTAL,” a group exhibit featuring the work of 17 artists, opened at Trifecta Gallery on Thursday. The pieces are diverse in subject and execution, but are all small and affordable.

If You Go

  • What: “minUMENTAL”
  • Where: Trifecta Gallery, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., at the Arts District.
  • When: 6-10 p.m. today for First Friday, noon-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and noon-2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Admission: Free, 366-7001 or

Trifecta Gallery

Sun Archives

Beyond the Sun

One of the more anticipated shows of the year opened Thursday at Trifecta Gallery, with art collectors queuing up hours in advance to get an edge in the buying.

The group exhibit, titled “minUMENTAL,” features works as diverse and imaginative as the 17 participating artists, all of whom were allowed to make what they want so long as it was small and affordable ($200 or less).

Some of the works fit into the palm of your hand. Some follow elaborate story lines. Mostly they reflect the clever thought processes of artists in the valley.

Todd VonBastiaans created a two-minute video titled “No Vacancy,” starring Mary and Joseph via a 1950s glowing Nativity lawn set. The video was taped in stop-motion animation. In it, the young couple walk down Main Street, discover a building that is shuttered and covered with graffiti, go inside, look at the art on the wall and decide it is an OK place to have a baby.

Stills from the video are printed onto Franklin Mint plates on display in the gallery and sold in the spirit of collector plates that come out with holiday movies.

“No Vacancy” is modified to fit Las Vegas, playing on the reality of the downtown Arts District where there a lot of vacancies, but nobody is renting. Rather than the star of Bethlehem, the wise men look to the Stratosphere.

Also addressing the idea of place, artist Catherine Borg created 4-by-6-inch drawings on vellum inspired by her photographs and by illustrations in an early 20th-century book on how to be a hobo. Included in the series are two small line drawings of tents. One is accompanied by a drawing of light sockets that had been in one of the last homes standing along the Desert Inn Golf Course. Another includes a drawing of a chair from that home.

Artist Justin Favela, who is always fun, plays on his Mexican heritage with Guatemalan worry tamales — miniature cement tamales wrapped in tinfoil and stacked three or four high on a miniature wooden palette. Another Favela piece titled, “this is not a mini Frank Stella,” made from cardboard and paint, offers tongue-in-cheek commentary on a painting at UNLV that for years staff mistakenly believed to be a Stella, but nobody bothered to check.

Favela’s work is often simplistic, layered and humorous.

Thomas Willis, on the other hand, takes a different approach in “Nearest Objects,” a series of very detailed, very refined representational works of mostly pocket items — a Visa card, Chapstick, spare change and a guitar pick — that are burned into canvas.

Other works include paintings by Mary Warner, digital photo prints on canvas of beverages and bar scenes by Ginger Bruner, popular portraits by Casey Weldon, miniature Amy Sol paintings, works by Shan Evans and JW Caldwell’s Apocalyptic Birds in Paradise. Sam Davis, known for his depictions of retro robots, space guns and the atom, created small works on wood that involve laser etching and polymer, one of which, Davis says, depicts an actual FBI photograph of a UFO.

The exhibit is fun and intriguing and a great way to see artists outside of their usual media and styles. Elizabeth Blau’s darkly rich, wondrous paintings glow in the dark.

Jennifer Henry’s works include the ongoing tale of Lola, a kewpie doll she had bid for on eBay. Not winning the bid, she downloaded the photograph and created multiple mixed-media works, starring Lola. For this exhibit, Henry printed images of Lola, front and back, in various outfits onto canvas and stuffed them with polyfill.

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