The CAC’s ‘Indelicate’ reflects its curator’s taste for the unconventional

Justin Favela’s “Grande Bang” is one highlights of Indelicate.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

‘Indelicate’ at CAC

In curating an exhibit for Contemporary Art Center’s Project Space, Las Vegas’ JW Caldwell ran through a mental list of artists whose work he admired, then whittled down the group based on two factors: unusual materials and unconventional methods of making art. “Everyone in this group has really experimented in their studio practice,” Caldwell says. “They’re not satisfied with just making paintings.”

With painting not necessarily the norm among serious artists in town, Caldwell, a painter himself, had plenty of options to choose from, landing on a nice sampling of media and method standouts—as well as familiar names—in Indelicate.

It’s a fun show, with works serving as a brief and almost autobiographical revue of each artist’s unique approach and subject matter. Erin Stellmon continues her narrative on Las Vegas transformation unhinged with a three-dimensional, mixed-media, vertical pinball machine-style work aptly titled “Tilt,” connecting the past, present and future Strip archetypes.

Justin Favela’s “Grande Bang” combines the mother lode of piñatas, a rumble-style mashup of the rainbow donkey, children’s Muppets and a Mexican superhero, reflecting Favela’s cultural background and wit.

Chris Bauder’s latex-paint works “Can You See?” and “Shrive (Stage 2)”—created by layering the non-pigment paint into sculptural form and repeatedly dipping a balloon animal into the latex—result in body organs, bordering on the erotic.

Todd Duane Miller references Mapplethorpe with “Men” and “Women,” two acrylic photo transfers on glass that have the boxed-like nudes relating to one another from within their frames (colored pink for the man, blue for the woman).

And Brent Sommerhauser—known for his complex and often large-scale sculptures made from wood flooring, house parts, pencils and glass—creates a fluid-like falling house of cards by melting glass panes in a kiln in “Slowly, at First” (fused and slumped glass). His abstract drawing using a vacuum-powered wind method and chunks of copper and silverpoint is still evolving as the copper and silver oxidizes.

The only drawback to Indelicate is that it offers only a taste of each artist’s work, rather than a heaping portion.

Indelicate Through September 28; Wednesday-Saturday, 2-7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Contemporary Arts Center, 382-3886.

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Kristen Peterson

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