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The feminine mystique meets paint and ink at Sin City Gallery

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LA-based artist Melissa Herrington is one of three women whose work is featured in Anima Motrix at Sin City Gallery.
Melissa Herrington
Danielle Kelly

For several years, Sin City Gallery has beautifully filled a deliciously Vegas niche: erotic art. This month’s Anima Motrix, curated by Jessica Lo, is an all-woman show that explores the potency of female eroticism and the indefinable spirit at its core.

The idea for Anima Motrix is derived from astronomer Johannes Kepler’s description of the sun’s gravitational pull as a “moving spirit.” This spirit, responsible for the astral order of Earth, moon and stars, is likened to that of the immense formative and transformative power at the heart of feminine sensuality. The work of each of the three featured artists addresses the broad scope of this theme with varying degrees of success.

The Details

Anima Motrix
two and a half stars
Through January 2; Wednesday-Saturday, 1-7 p.m., free
Sin City Gallery, inside the Arts Factory, 608-2461

Vegas’ Lolita Develay is perhaps the most literal of the three, and not because of her hyper-realistic style. Develay’s oil paintings of couples in pre- or post-coital bliss are well executed and candid, but for all their implied mystery leave little to the imagination. “They Know” and “Temptation of the Serpent” use familiar sexual symbolism (orchids and serpents, respectively) that is very digestible. Although there are some lusciously painted passages, this is well-covered territory. Develay is a talented painter, and it will be interesting to watch this emerging artist develop her own voice.

LA-based Melissa Herrington is a bit harder to pin down. Sensual and spare line work in graphite and ink articulates the ineffability of the feminine mystique. In the best drawings, the strength of a single line defines form, volume and beauty. Much of this subtlety is masked by unnecessary, heavy resin covering the surface of most of the drawings, obscuring the delicate strength of a sleeping figure or slightly curved hip. “She bend but will not break today” is the most successful of Herrington’s pieces, a lovely and raw collage of exposed paper accentuated by the artist’s confident lines.

Remy Holwick, also from LA, offers the most complex and interesting exploration of the “anima motrix.” In a free-spirited range of photos, paintings and collage, Holwick pieces together a female sexuality that is girlish and dreamy, a little kinky and vaguely nostalgic. Photos “Elizabeth (1) and (3)” embrace the feel of ’70s commercial eroticism, a hazy-eyed glimpse of long, creamy legs in lush, green grass. Tiny drawings of sleeping figures, male and female, force an almost perverse voyeurism. The large oil painting “Joe and Lucy” and the study “MacArthur Park” are a touch Ralph Lauren with a liberal dash of Love, American Style. Holwick’s free-associative style is captivating, with a smart eye to media.

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