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Gazing Into Zen in Las Vegas | UNLV

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The Abstract Mandalas of UNLV Alumnus James Stanford Demand Close Inspection. A New Art Book Collects His Works.


Rather than seeing Las Vegas as culturally vacant, James Stanford looks around him and sees artistic opportunity.

One of the UNLV alumnus’ endeavors involves taking photographs of many of Las Vegas’ iconic neon signs and architecture and using them as the basis of new works of art.

After years of photographing such images, Stanford began using his graphic arts skills to turn those photographs into mandalas, which he describes as visual works of art that take you into higher consciousness.

He describes his work as “complex and meditative.”

He said he “opens his mind to meditation and asks the universe, ‘What is going on here?’ (The answer) seems to be revealed through my work.” > Read More

New Illuminated PORTALS in Las Vegas Arts District

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Backlit Lenticulars of James Stanford through Jan. 31, 2019

PORTALS, a new pop-up installation in the heart of the Las Vegas Arts District has created another way to view the beautiful complex photomontagesof Las Vegas landmarks and neon signs by Las Vegas-based contemporary artist James Stanford. Several of the “digital painter’s” illuminated works are exhibiting in vacant storefront windows of the historicQuivx Building at 1 E. Charleston Blvd., the arts area’s major thoroughfare for pedestrians and cars.

Combining traditional photography with innovative technology, Stanford layers original photographs to reimagine them as rich digital mosaics. His abstract style features bold colors and mesmerizing visual networks.

“The illuminated portals move with the viewer’s gaze and take on a shimmering life of their own,” said Stanford. “This installation is visible from the street during the day but is particularly impressive at night.”

Stanford’s art reflects a strong connection to his native Las Vegas, featuring resonating symbols such as the original Tropicana Hotel or iconic neon signage. He often combines image and word in highly symmetrical and amplified patterns, wherein a single piece may contain 30 or more layers.

The PORTALS works include So Fabrish Old Tropicana (54” x 54”) and Recombo Old Tropicana (54” x 54”). The popup installation follows the success of several recent Stanford exhibitions, most notably his solo show in Las Vegas and his recent showing at the Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design Fair, the premier gallery art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design in Chicago, via Melissa Morgan Fine Art of Coachella Valley in Southern California.

Stanford’s illuminated PORTALS installation will be the first of many select popup exhibitions curated by Laura Henkelof ArtCulture PRat the Quivx Building. The building, formerly known at the S2 Building, has a long art-related history through pioneering Las Vegas Strip gallerist Jack Solomon. Under Solomon, the building housed a traditional French press and was the largest dealer of high-end lithographs in North America.

According to Henkel, Quivx building owners are delighted to sponsor exhibitions in their downstairs space, and hope that a permanent art-centric tenant will occupy the space in the future. Quivx provides eDiscovery and business document solutions.

“The Quivx Building is strategically located to present dynamic art installations due to its close proximity to Radial Symmetry, a $246,000, 16’ x 16’ steel sculpture by local artist Luis Varela-Rico, on the median at Main and Commerce streets, and the Art District's multimillion dollar beautification by the City of Las Vegas designed to encourage pedestrian traffic to support the numerous art galleries, bars and restaurants, interior designers, antique and vintage stores in the area,” Henkelsaid.

PORTALS by James Stanford will be displayed through Monday, Jan. 31, 2019.

For information, Laura Henkel can be reached at 702.608.2461, laura@artculturepr.comor www.artculturepr.com.

Neon Museum Hosts Shimmering Zen Book Launch

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For the first time in North America, Las Vegas Artist James Stanford will introduce his book, “Shimmering Zen” from Smallworks Press, at the Neon Museum’s Ne10 Studio on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 6 to 9 p.m. Neon Museum President and Chief Executive Officer Rob McCoy will join Stanford for the discussion. A book signing will follow.

A Nevada native and Zen Buddhist, Stanford creates and manipulates digital photographs of vintage Las Vegas neon signs and architectural elements from the 1950s and ‘60s using purpose-specific technology. The resulting conceptually complex and visually captivating images invite contemplation of both spiritual and material realities. Stanford’s work represents an interpretation of the ancient traditions of Buddhism, drawing from historic metaphor, Chinese fable and the aesthetics of the mandala, a ritual and spiritual symbol used in both Buddhism and Hinduism to represent the universe.

“Applying modern technology to images of derelict neon signs, while incorporating the artifice of perfect symmetry, allows me to create these spiritual objects of meditation,” explains Stanford.

A large-format, hardback compilation of 150 of Stanford’s art works created over the last 15 years, “Shimmering Zen” offers insight into the artist’s creative process. In addition to these works, the book includes original images of the signs that inspired him and nostalgic tales of his life growing up in Las Vegas.

“Vintage neon signs inspire people from around the world every day who visit our Neon Museum Boneyard or see our spectacular, augmented-reality experience, ‘Brilliant,’” says McCoy. “We’ve never seen anyone accomplish what James has done, however, with these stunning works of art. They’re absolutely mesmerizing.”

The “Shimmering Zen” North American launch event at Ne10 is free to the public with books available for purchase and signing; a cash bar will also be available.