MFA students from the department of art at UNLV present an exhibition of new work, "Unshelved," at The Studio at the West Sahara Library through Nov. 29. The artists in the show address the library and research as jumping-off points for their work. The exhibition as a whole investigates the intersections of reading, research, and archives. Artists featured in the exhibition include: Cida de Aragon, Aaron Cowan, Erin K. Drew, Fawn Douglas, Homero Hidalgo ('20 MFA), Keeva Lough, John McVay, Lyssa Park, Laurence Myers Reese, Emily Sarten, and Shelby Westika. In this exhibition, UNLV research comes off the shelf; it is animated and alive.
"Unshelved" features a broad range of styles and approaches to object making. Media, text, and books are deconstructed in many of the works. John McVay’s series of fireproofed books questions what information we deem worth saving and also explores notions of preservation. The photographs of Cida de Aragon use text to take on the perspective of an outsider in the city. Emily Sarten draws on material from UNLV Special Collections to create fictional menus that evoke Vegas’ visual past. Homero Hidalgo’s abstract paintings are generated by using video and projection as source material to picture a kind of visual chaos. Keeva Lough’s videos use text inspired by South American writers to create hypnotic stories. Lyssa Park’s zines and video explore artistic anxiety, taking inspiration from Kafka and children's pop-up books.
The artists also explore monuments, spaces, and archives. Erin K. Drew’s feminist drawings juxtapose text and hand-made amateur iconography to consider indoctrination and evade the logic of patriarchal capitalism. Laurence Myers Reese created a series of jean pockets and hankies that build upon queer history. Aaron Cowan’s large-scale forts suggest intimate spaces for introspection. Fawn Douglas’ painterly collages and found object assemblages examine indigenous identity in relation to land protection and the commodification of culture. Contemporary Zuni artist Shelby Westika's work presents the visual manifestation of emotional landscapes through mixed media work layering braided yarn coils and small hand-shaped ceramic pieces affectionately given the title “stars” (Moyachu:we).
In addition to the work presented, books and media related to the artists’ research will be shared with the public. The West Sahara Library is located at 9600 W. Sahara Ave.
Organized by the Vegas Institute of Contemporary Engagement (VICE) and the UNLV department of art.
About the Program
The department of art strives to create a model for professional development in all areas of the arts, design, and relevant histories, to teach the diversity of culture and identity in the U.S. and its democratic values, and to prepare graduates for success in competitive and evolving communities through access to cutting-edge fabrication equipment, new critical and creative contexts, and opportunities for exhibition, publication, discussion, and critique linked with partners in Las Vegas and beyond.
About the Vegas Institute of Contemporary Engagement
The Vegas Institute of Contemporary Engagement (VICE) is a team of five graduate assistants in the UNLV department of art whose mission is to develop and implement art and education programming and projects for UNLV students and the Las Vegas community.
For more information about the program, visit or follow:
Link hi-res images here. All images courtesy of the artists.