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Artist Erik Beehn invites you into familiar spaces in unfamiliar ways

Image
First Floor LA” by Erik Beehn.

Erik Beehn isn’t just any ol’ artist tapping into the poetic drama of neglected urban and industrial spaces—preferred fodder for some artists romanticizing mostly forgotten decay. Beehn takes it a step further through a process of layering and multimedia, resulting in a finished product that shares the characteristics of the environments, rather than merely depicting them.

In many of Beehn’s works featured in Centerpiece Gallery’s Locals Only exhibit, it’s difficult to note where the photograph ends and the drawing begins.

The Details

Locals Only
Through November 13, free
CENTERpiece Gallery, 739-3314

“First Floor LA” portrays a restroom with its cracked tile walls (and cigarette butts on the sink) from the vantage point of the doorway looking down into the space. Segments of the work are faded. Squares (shaped much like the wall tile) are manipulated to create an aged effect so that the process itself reflects the restroom’s wear and tear.

Similarly, Beehn’s interior of a laundromat (“Berkeley 2008”) includes faded, differently textured and weathered layers.

The artist uses wax to help saturate and tone outdoor vignettes and full urban landscapes, creating a thick atmospheric effect—haze, even.

A former master printer at fine art publishing house Gemini G.E.L., Beehn was able to hone the process of layering before moving back to Las Vegas. That experience, along with Beehn’s technical drawing skills and appreciation of light and ignored spaces, adds more depth to the subject matter.

Even his black-and-white photographs on display—a child’s park framed by the flat landscape, an interior stairwell or diner—invite you into the space rather than show it to you.

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Kristen Peterson joined the Las Vegas Sun in 1998 as a general assignment reporter. In 2003, she turned her focus ...

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