Virtual Exhibition, February 15 - April 30
Moapa Valley High School, Overton, Nevada
Organized with Donna Swanson, Fine Art Instructor
Students in Advanced Studies and Advanced Drawing courses at Moapa Valley High School have created eleven original 9” x 12” drawings incorporating the design of Las Vegas artist James Ellwanger, who specializes in large-scale sculpture design and installation for public, corporate, and private settings. He created the Desert Angel motif as part of a proposed public art piece for Clark County Public Art, inspired by renowned artist Michael Heizer’s Double Negative (1969), a land-artwork that sits 10 miles east of Moapa Valley. For those unfamiliar, Double Negative is a carved-out trench in Mormon Mesa, creating a man-made negative space, framing the natural landscape; a void that can only be experienced in-person for the full effect.
Ellwanger designed this Desert Angel sculpture to be a 14 ft tall steel structure with a patina that mimics the desert environment. It conceptually serves as a “guardian of this negative space, its natural surroundings, the spirituality it embodies, and the collective soul of humanity that resides within it.” A large part of the artist’s passion behind this project is to involve the local community. Donna Swanson’s group of students were asked by Ellwanger to “put (the sculpture) into an environment that they love, and where they’re at, and what means something to them.” Through virtual meetings, the students were encouraged to ask questions about his design process and learn more about the engineering that would go into a project of this scale. The drawings they created were born from the dialogue between the experienced artist and an upcoming generation of artists, focusing on very personal and individual senses of belonging around our Nevada landscape. Ellwanger values being able to see these students’ reactions to the sculpture, and how they put it into their own lives- creating feedback that builds on our collective learning. He hopes to inspire these future artists to set their sights high and help them see that creating art at a larger scale is attainable.
This exhibition will be online-only amid the constraints of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Kaitlyn “The Beauty of Misplacement”
Marker, Gel Pen
Amiah “Sunrise Angel”
Courtney “City Central”
Brittnee “Lost in the Desert”
Aleesia “Red Sandy Stones”
Lexi “Out My House Window”
Colored Pencil, Graphite
Sierra “Home in Moapa”
Haley “Angel in Rosemoor”
Allie “My Favorite Place”
Romeo “Solitary Angel”
Angela “By the Lake”