I went to Las Vegas’ First Friday Art Walk this month. While Art Walks tend to be more of a “to be seen on the scene” kind of experience than actually an opportunity to take in quality, exciting art, there was a definite highlight to my evening and that highlight was artist Anthony Freda’s show All That Glitters, at Trifecta Gallery.
Anthony Freda is an illustrator whose work has appeared everywhere from Rolling Stone to The New Yorker; The New York Times to Playboy. As described on the artist’s website, Freda’s work “easily glides between the worlds of commercial art, personal introspection and social commentary” and he is “inspired by imagery from American ephemera.” All That Glitters most definitely represents these ideas and inspirations and touches on (and probes) some of our most sensitive, current and relevant socio-political topics. Here were some of my favorite pieces from the show:
The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing. (drawing, found object)
I really enjoy Freda’s use of found objects as a part of his work, especially in this show. Most of the frames had sort of this unfinished, schoolhouse-chalkboard-at-the-turn-of-the-century look.
My Little Friend. (drawing, found object)
Soul Pig. (painted assemblage.)
The other technique displayed throughout Freda’s work in this show was painted assemblage. I love the sort of gross, almost lewd effect he achieves by employing this technique, especially in this piece.
Obama Nation. (painted assemblage.)
This piece cuts to the quick with its message; even its title is a play on the idea that while we are a nation experiencing a progressive, fantastic change with our first African American president, we still can’t deny or change the disgusting, tragic history of how our country related, treated and viewed its African Americans citizens.
The One. (drawing and assemblage)
This was the final or first piece you saw in the gallery – depending on the way you entered or exited. What a poetic idea, no? In my case, it was the last piece I took in before leaving and I loved the taste it left in my mouth. It practically oozes every possible Messiaenic reference there is: the gentle, halo-like glow over Obama’s head, the serene expression on his face, the image of The Last Supper acting as the foundation of the piece. Even its physical construction – the entire piece was akin to the little wooden boxes hung in cathedrals with spots for two tiny prayer candles and the panel (upon which we see the image of The Last Supper) flaps open to display the area in which one would place (and anoint oneself) in Holy Water. Yes, it’s over the top. Yes, it plays on all of the ubiquitous (and somewhat exhausting) Obama-Is-Jesus messages we were all bombarded with during the election, but something about having this as my parting shot as I exited the gallery on that Friday night still made me resonate with hope…and a bit of a light-hearted giggle.
So if you live in Las Vegas or are visiting, make sure to hustle in to Trifecta Gallery to see All That Glitters before it’s gone on March 28th.