This Priscilla Fowler group show finds expansiveness in ‘Black and White’

“My Friends and I” by Donald Corpier Starr.
Photo: Yasmina Chavez

There’s a sense of whittling down to the truth of things when you look at monochromatic art. No wild colors to distract—just depth, value and emotion.

Curator and artist Priscilla Fowler brings together a group of nearly 10 artists for her gallery’s latest show, Black and White. This collection of drawings, prints and photos features a variety of subjects and styles, from Hayden Senter’s ominous scenes wrought in graphite to Donald Corpier Starr’s loving, character-infused portraits.

All of the pieces are united by their color scheme. (Do we need to tell you that it’s black and white?) It’s a joy to stroll the gallery and see how each artist interprets the challenge of art with a limited palette. As in life, each has found unique answers to the same question. A few highlights:

Casino carpet designer and artist Terrien Hale offers a moment of joy with three whimsical line drawings. Varying line thicknesses provide depth, and curved lines create an organic feel. Hale’s “Coming Home” teems with life.

Alexander Lui’s ink drawings have the precision of a naturalist. They’re intricate landscapes with just a little bit of psychedelica concealed within the lines. Odd, little secrets are hidden in the nature, as if some talented kid a few grades ahead of you hacked your science textbook.

From most angles, Clarice Tara’s “Anguish” looks like a ceramic vase. It’s cylindrical and sits on a pedestal. But it’s actually a graphite-on-paper drawing of a woman doubled over in pain. The large sheet of torn paper has been bent and curved until it stands vertically like a tower. Perhaps it alludes to the special kind of strength that’s born of suffering.

'Black and White Show' Exhibit

Denver-based artist Charles Livingston has the most unique process in this show. For his Infinite Drawing Series (one of which is one display here), he has created an “organic grid” by dropping 100 rubber bands on a drafting table and drawing based on where they land. Like a progressive slot machine, each piece builds upon and overlays the previous ones. Though it’s completely abstract, the effect resembles a topographical map, with peaks and valleys. In a neat coincidence, like Hale, he also designs rugs.

Something else unites this collection of art works: They were all handpicked by Priscilla Fowler. The recent Denver transplant offers a fresh perspective for the Las Vegas art scene, spotlighting emerging local artists and calling in out-of-state creators she knew elsewhere. It’s long been a struggle locally for small galleries to stay “in the black.” Fowler is using the vast database and marketplace Artsy.net to reach beyond the local buyers (her gallery’s pieces are available for purchase at artsy.net/priscilla-fowler-fine-art). We love that she’s connecting our art scene with the rest of the world, and all signs points to a fruitful Fowler partnership with Las Vegas.

Black and White Through October 28; Wednesday-Saturday, noon- 6 p.m.; free. Priscilla Fowler Fine Art, 1025 S. 1st St. #155.

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