Three art exhibits: Las Vegas, DNA, clowns, oh my!

The stories they tell…

Selina Davenport explores whether memory and experience are encoded in our DNA or not with her new exhibit at Trifecta.
Selina Davenport

The Las Vegas Valley, as it’s studied, examined and picked apart, is so often a caricature of a community without a soul—a visually sanitized, bland environment juxtaposed against outlandish, corporate casino facades—that Angela Bellamy’s The Pano Project is refreshing.


The Pano Project
Thru October 27
Charleston Heights Arts Center Gallery
800 S. Brush St., 229-4674
Thru September 30
Trifecta Gallery at The Arts Factory
107 E. Charleston Blvd., 366-7001
Clowns Are People Too
Thru September 30
PeaceNArt Studio at The Arts Factory
107 E. Charleston Blvd., 465-8247

The panoramic photographs on display at Charleston Heights Arts Center Gallery present the often-overlooked story, a narrative unfamiliar even to some who live here. Bellamy highlights the depth and diversity in candid shots—a neighborhood barbershop on Charleston; a Downtown lunch counter where regulars read newspapers; a donut shop surviving in a Starbucks world, with Buddhas on its display case, a rabbit-eared television on in the background and Marlboros for sale behind the counter. We see workers toil away at a dry cleaner and in the kitchen of a barbecue restaurant or locals bellied up to a longtime (and now closed) watering hole on a Sunday morning. The story is all in the details, the broad angles and the unscripted approaches that open up meditations worthy of your time.

Inside Trifecta’s Attachment Gallery—painted black and rumbling with audio—is a 38-second, continuously looping digital video. Its body tissue-like imagery scrolls up and down slowly, overlaying text and thumbprints, until the screen splits to show a reel-to-reel tape recorder and, at one point, a ’50s-era man.

It’s lunglike, brainlike, steaklike or however you respond to the image—an impression easily manipulated by the audio. Broken phrases, extracted from playwright Richard Foreman’s notebooks, are mixed in with the intensity of the score, augmenting the ambiguity of the work, built off the question of whether (or what if) memory and experience are encoded in our DNA. "00:00:38" is as asphyxiating as it is mesmerizing. It’s created by Selina Davenport, a video production technician with Cirque du Soleil, whose background is in art and theater. Whether our bodies are recording devices is something she’s pondered since reading anthropologist Jeremy Narby’s The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, inspired by the beliefs of Peruvian rainforest inhabitants who say they communicate with nature while under the influence of a hallucinogenic brew made from plants. As with scientists looking into the realm of genetic data, Davenport’s work is all about the questions, but it’s packaged in an intensely visceral experience.

One of the clown works by 3 Bad Sheep.

A year ago a trio of artists, known as 3 Bad Sheep, began collaborating on works in a democratic way that would seem baffling to anyone who assumes art is a lone creative process. But Alexander “Sky” Carranza, Eddie Canumay and Alexander P. Huerta are known to work seamlessly on pieces that are passed off from one individual to another, knowing that an illustration might be painted over or replaced with another painted- or pasted-on image, abstract or representational. The result is often an impressive combination of urban, fine and outsider art. The show, Clowns Are People Too, opens this week in Huerta’s studio. It’s a somewhat scary exploration of clowns—one worth checking out.

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Kristen Peterson

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