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Art

Ephemeral objects are elevated in Dombrosky’s rotunda exhibit

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Recyclables: See Dombrosky’s work before it gets tossed away for good.
Photo: Shannon Eakins

The Details

You Want Light to Pass Through Objects and Furniture
Three and a half stars
Through November 19; Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; free. Clark County Government Center Rotunda, 455-8239

Exhibitions at the Clark County Government Center seldom disappoint. The rotunda’s architecture has a certain theatrical grandeur that invariably affects the experience of the work. Then, of course, there is the inherently political context—it is a government center after all, and fairly benign art can take on a rather charged appeal. That’s part of what makes Marc Dombrosky’s new exhibit, You Want Light to Pass Through Objects and Furniture, so intriguing. Defying expectation, work that should be polarizing is wonderfully ... unremarkable.

A long platform at the center of the rotunda is stacked with cardboard boxes. Attached to most are fliers found by the artist that advertise yard and estate sales. Scattered around the platform are random lawn chairs facing the boxes, empty and expectant.

The formal beauty of the boxes is striking. Light skims right angles and filters through untaped corners in a lovely shadow play. The signs themselves have a special poignancy, as Dombrosky has faithfully embroidered the lettering on each and every sign. Yes, embroidered. The implications of the artist “tracing” the handwork of the original in such a sensual medium is exceptionally intimate. It also saves the work from appearing flippant or overly politicized. This very personal exchange between artist and sign maker reads as a respectful and modest gesture that honors the original and lends weight, however slight.

Multitude here implies immateriality rather than monumentality. Most of the boxes are open on one side, a house of cards that undermines the volume of the forms as a unit. When encountered in a vacant lot, a single lawn chair can suggest a narrative or dramatically accentuate the stark openness of a space once occupied. This collection of chairs diminishes the potent mystery that a solitary piece of furniture holds. Neutralized, their ubiquity is reinforced and they have purpose: just a chair.

This achievement of transience in volume is most beautifully articulated in “williamsellisbrooksyudovitzgarcia,” a collection of plastic bags inserted one inside the other. As listed in the title, each bag has a name written on it that has been painstakingly embroidered onto the bags. There is no hierarchy or significance to one name over another, equally fleeting in their status as yet another plastic bag found swirling around a Vegas road.

All this work will be recycled or thrown away at exhibition’s end. The artist has also moved on, no longer living in Las Vegas. What does it all mean? Dombrosky offers no answers, only the perspective of a transient visitor elevating the elegiac impermanence of something the rest of us can’t see anymore.

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Danielle Kelly

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