Different Way to View Las Vegas with Shimmering Zen

New exhibit by contemporary artist James Stanford

Sept. 21 – Nov. 24 at Sahara West Library


Contemporary local artist James Stanford presents a new exhibition featuring photo-montages of vintage Las Vegas landmarks and the city’s famed neon signs. The free exhibit will be Friday, Sept. 21 through Saturday, November 24 in The Studio at the Sahara West Library, 9600 W. Sahara Ave.

Heavily influenced by his native Las Vegas roots and surroundings, Stanford is an innovative artist who revisits the vibrant energy of 1960s Vegas with this collection. Entitled Shimmering Zen, he will feature a range of intricate digital collages of original photographs that capture the city’s iconic aesthetic and particularly its neon signs. Some of the pieces include The Neon Museum, Fremont Street, Fong’s Garden and the Circus Circus, Flamingo, Golden Nugget, Tropicana, Caesars Palace and Binion’s properties.

Stanford’s use of traditional photography and digital techniques make his Shimmering Zen work unique and compelling. Drawing on his expertise as a painter, photographer, professor of colour theory and pioneering advocate of new technologies in digital art, he layers photographs to create and discover patterns in familiar, yet completely revitalized, images with bold colors and intricate patterns that create mesmerizing designs.

Shimmering Zen also reflects Stanford’s continued interest in transforming reality into imagined realms. As an artist, he is concerned with the development of a visual expression of spirituality. Drawing on the ancient traditions of Buddhism, he conceives his digital montages as “modern mandalas” – maps toward inner zen. His work responds to the potency of the “mandala” as a symbol and its influence and importance to cultures worldwide.

“When you open up your mind, you become so full of this one vision, everything becomes pure energy, pure light. That’s Shimmering Zen, and incorporating iconic Las Vegas images for their beauty, uniqueness and historical significance in the city and my life makes this collection even more special,” said Stanford.

Shimmering Zen features 46 works Stanford created during the past 20 years. In addition to the Las Vegas pieces, he will incorporate new works inspired by his recent visit to London. These include a large scale triptych (96’’ X 192’’) printed on metal and composed of three mirrored montages featuring Buckingham Palace, entitled Trioca Pentaptyc. Another new piece in the show will be a circular (48’’) collage created from a photograph of a London parking garage and entitled Architectura Circulo.

Shimmering Zen premiered at the 20th Anniversary of Asia Art in London, the global hub of Asian contemporary art and antiquities featuring more than 60 of the world’s top dealers, major auction houses and museums for an annual 10-day celebration of the finest in Asian art.

Many of the exhibition’s pieces have been compiled into Shimmering Zen, a large-format, 264-page hardback book of 150 of Stanford’s original works that will be launched in the United States at the Neon Museum on Oct. 13.  The book is being distributed through Midpoint, a subsidiary of Ingram Content Group and is available through Amazon and Smallworks Press, a specialty arts and publication company.