Fine Art

Finding infinite symmetry through Las Vegas signage and a Hindu/Buddhist metaphor

Jim Stanford’s “Del Mar” at Trifecta Gallery

It wasn’t just the Internet that would disprove (in real time) the “What
 Happens Here, Stays Here” Las Vegas marketing campaign. There was this other kind of net—one in an ancient Hindu/Buddhist metaphor that represents the infinite interconnectedness of the universe, asserting that there is no such reality in which separateness exists.

That is the idea behind Indra’s Jewels, in which a deity cast out a net, then placed a jewel in each eye of the net so the jewels and reflection would extend infinitely, interdependent on one another. It’s a belief that artist and Buddhist Jim Stanford has held for decades, and in his quest to render the metaphor and take on infinite symmetry in art, he’s used old Vegas signage as source material for his Trifecta Gallery exhibit, also called Indra’s Jewels.

After photographing neon tubes, water fountains, bulbs and sockets, weathered paint and iconic curvatures, the native Las Vegan and bodhisattva teacher would layer, flip, multiply and color-enhance an element of an image, and then create small compositions from it and reflect them, building symmetrical and colorful mandala-like photomontages.

Jim Stanford's "Horses"

In Stanford’s works, the signs, landscapes and building elements become the jewels of Indra’s net. It's a demanding technological process that wouldn’t be possible, he says, without his “perpetual re-examination” of color composition. The resulting Indra’s Jewels is a gorgeous collection of intense, symmetrical patterns filled with tiny hints and markers of Las Vegas’ past. The lightjet prints on Fuji Crystal paper vary wildly in depth, color and structure. As with mandalas, each represents the universe. Each is a meditative visual landscape designed to invoke balance and harmony

Indra’s Jewels Through March 28; Monday-Wednesday & Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 11-8 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Trifecta Gallery, 366-7001.

Photo of Kristen Peterson

Kristen Peterson

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