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Philip Denker takes on new material in ‘Over + Under’

The title piece in Trifecta’s Over + Under exhibit.

Initially, the wow factor with Philip Denker’s work was his intricately detailed geometric drawings, created with such mathematical precision they were comparable to that of forms generated by 3D software. Then came his flat pixilated works made from pipe cleaners and corrugated plastic, designed to reference Vegas’ “sensory stimuli”—an insanely detailed effort that had him slipping measured bits of pipe cleaners into small plastic cells for the large wall works.

Philip Denker at Trifecta Gallery

In Over + Under at Trifecta Gallery, Denker again draws from Las Vegas and the digital—this time with bits of colored PVC foam, stacked, cut and arranged into panels of repeating patterns that offer a sense of motion. While the exhibit incorporates a fabrication process bordering more on sculpture, the work puts forth a more flat (rather than three-dimensional) quality, an unexpected flip for the artist who’s been toiling between 2D and 3D since his early drawings, originally inspired by Frank Gehry’s cardboard furniture.

Many of the pieces reference the motion in the spinning wheels of a slot machine. Denker says one, “White River,” came from thinking about the patterns in the text of a book. Regardless of the inspirations, each piece evokes the speedy digital world, its infinity of marks and, in some cases, a pause in the noise.

His repeated patterns use the 12 available colors in the material and, in some works, a router table saw to carve shapes into the panels. But Over + Under is more than constant movement. Denker throws in some variety with “Blue Riser” and “Orange Crush,” in which he places a sheet of PVC foam over his pixilated panels and cuts through, revealing a design that contrasts the frenzy with the surrounding field of solid color.

Over + Under is as visually stunning, complicated and simple and mathematical as Denker’s other undertakings, proving that there are plenty of options out there for him to toy with in combining his admiration of architecture and design with fine art.

Over + Under Through December 22; Monday-Wednesday & Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Trifecta Gallery, 366-7001.

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Kristen Peterson

Kristen Peterson joined the Las Vegas Sun in 1998 as a general assignment reporter. In 2003, she turned her focus ...

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