Heavy metal art exhibit surely ‘rocks’

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By Linda Wooten-Green
Submitted to the Optic

Heavy Metal: Does this sound like a headliner rock band to you? No, it’s not a rock band, but well describes the March/ April exhibit at the Las Vegas Arts Council (Gallery 140) featuring artists out of New Mexico Highlands University’s foundry.

The exhibit will be on display from March 5 to April 29. The gallery is open, usually, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. An artist reception is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 10 at the Las Vegas Arts Council.

Front and center, as you enter the front door, is a kinetic (it moves) sculpture created by fine arts professor David Lobdell.

Historically connected to the kinetic work of Alexander Calder, the piece consists of an iron rod vertically attached to a base with extended rods interrupted segmentally by multiple folded paper airplanes printed with airmail stamp symbols. A bronze gator head lies in wait on the base. The eye-catching work is entitled “Opportunity: Deciphering the Abstract/Air Mail Stamp.”

Harry Leippe, a retired fine arts professor, sports two substantial offerings in this show. An “Untitled” cast iron tower-shaped form consisting of carved stacked shapes, perhaps reminiscent of Louise Nevelson’s works, although Leippe’s sculpture begins with carved blocks of core sand. He carves and assembles these blocks for use as a mold, which he fills with molten metal after which he removes the sand. A wall-mounted piece “Vietnam Forgotten” is created from bronze and brass salvage yard scrap metal molded into the memorable features of a young soldier.

Nancy Leippe’s small bronze highly polished figure labeled “Look Homeward Angel” bears her commentary: “This bronze sculpture either speaks for itself, or it doesn’t. Visual art speaks a visual language — not a verbal language. The visual arts are ineffable.”

Aaron Juarros challenges us to consider a bronze and steel insect celebrating “Parachute Day.”

NMHU fine arts professor Todd Christensen teases us with his perennial whimsy in “Applaud if you Approve,” a small bronze set of hands in a clapping mode, but metamorphosing at the wrists with mouse-like creature heads.

In Amber MacLean’s “Saltimbanques” (after Picasso), a stunning bronze relief featuring a double portrait, the artist literally paints on bronze and displays her approximately 24” x 20” work on an iron easel. The molded bronze portraits refer to an early Picasso painting by the same name.

Other talented creative visual artists represented in this exhibit are: Rochelle Bonnet, Ted Gonzales, Alicia Gallegos, Stephanie E.G. Irwin, Marques Jackson, Mark James Martinez, Max Ramirez, and Fred Turner. Time and space prohibit reviewing all their works.

This “Heavy Metal” exhibit may not be a rock band, but it surely “rocks.”