THREE SQUARE JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT
her compatriots had managed to go 12 years without seeing a “real painting.” There’s a first time for everything, and theirs was a thrill. Reafsnyder’s “Confetti” is part of the eclectic exhibition “Into the Light” at UNLV’s recently renovated Marjorie Barrick Museum. “Light” marks the museum’s premiere not only as part of the university’s Department of Art, but also as custodian of the Las Vegas Art Museum collection. It is a beautiful trifecta — the Barrick, the Department of Art, LVAM — a momentous turn of events expanding the local roster of high art venues and with it the opportunities for looking at art. Culled from LVAM’s collection of roughly 200 works of art that have been in storage since the Museum’s closing in 2009, “Light” is a paintingheavy mixture of old and new works by a wide range of local and national artists. Given the diverse scope of the collection, UNLV Donna Beam Gallery Director Jerry Schefcik’s curatorial strategy for the exhibition was to foster a series of conversations. By identifying subtle (or not so subtle) ways in which two or more pieces might exist in dialogue, Schefcik has shaped an experience in which a viewer might easily insert herself into the exchange. Never intimidating or condescending, navigating “Into the Light” is as rigorous as a game of Chutes and Ladders. With that in mind, I suggest beginning with a monologue rather than a conversation. Which brings us back to “Confetti” heckling from its own little slice of heaven near the entrance of the exhibition, its small size unsuccessfully masking a big personality. Easily mistaken for a painter’s palette, it is a frenzy of thick acrylic paint and heterogeneous colors exuberantly sloshing across panel. The drama of such painterly pursuits is punctured by the inclusion of what every serious painting needs — a smiley face with large lavender antlers oozed straight from the tube. Reafsnyder’s painting trips you as you walk by, pokes you in the eye, and then tickles you in the ribs for good measure. The Ab-Ex physical comedy of “Confetti” is a beautiful way to begin “Into the Light,” inspired in its passion and generous with its humor — a necessary tool when visiting any art exhibition. The piece holds its own opposite comparatively muscular work by David Ryan and Bradley Corman, by contrast a more minimal introduction to “Light.” The taut sculpture/painting tight rope navigated by each artist is accentuated by Schefcik in a pairing whose forced marriage heightens this dynamic to a crescendo. Ryan’s clean, bright abstract painting “NV 316 NHJ” consists of panels that appear to flatten layer upon layer of cartoon thought balloons, thick and sculptural in their perceived two-di-
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