In a performance piece at UNLV’s Grant Hall Gallery, artist Camilla Quinn burned found photographs—the kind you’d find lodged inside books at estate sales—then poured the ashes into an urn, putting to rest memories that once belonged to their late owners. Exploring memory is common to Quinn’s work. With old photographs, she says, there’s a tendency for strangers to imprint themselves, insert their own storylines.
At Trifecta Gallery, where Quinn is one of five MFA students featured in Selected Works from UNLV MFA Studios, we get a sampling of her approach to this and other recurring themes in her work. Her digital print, “Unreal Possession of the Past,” features an old photograph torn up and made into paper, transforming it into a new object, one that reveals only hints of its former self. The piece hangs near Quinn’s Attachment Room video/paper/sound installation that deals with the deluge of information we receive in the new world of terabytes.
Selected Works is gallery owner Marty Walsh’s attempt to better connect the Arts District with what’s happening at UNLV. Along with Quinn, artists include Austin Dickson, Scott Grow, Abraham Abebe and Lisa Rock. While Abebe and Grow have had solo exhibits (at Winchester Cultural Center and RTZvegas), Selected Works provides a broader look at the MFA program and its candidates.
Abebe, originally from Ethiopia, received his BFA from UNLV. His abstract oil paintings of tribal patterns contrast with the materials used in a digital print of a book he designed on the Maasai people. Grow’s four-inch astronaut sculptures—casts made from the artist’s original melted meteorite spaceman launched into space—are included, as are his acrylic resin space-inspired paintings.
Rock, who received her BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design (and recently curated In-Between at CAC), reminds us why we still love painting with her oil-on-canvas, “Untitled (Concrete).” And rounding out the show are Dickson’s impressive digital prints made from videos that he’s scrambled and altered into collages resembling abstract paintings. His clever text piece, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” reads, “Chill Ass Art Genius.”
Selected Works from UNLV MFA Studios through September 27; Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Trifecta Gallery, 366-7001. Opening reception September 5, 6 p.m.