James Stanford’s Shimmering Zen is now on exhibit at The Studio-Sahara West Library in Las Vegas, Nevada, through December 8, 2018. It has been described as the intersection of Las Vegas and Buddhism. The digital images are intricate, detail-dense, neatly symmetrical, abstract, mandala-like. Most often they’re layers of details cropped from historic photos of Vegas signage and architecture.
Stanford uses the iconic vintage signage of Las Vegas, where he spent his childhood at a time when the town was small and provincial, without access to global culture. His layered images reflect a mirrored geometry that unravels and then recomposes. Printed on metallic paper, the works evoke a sense of infinite reflection.
Some of the pieces in the exhibit are “lenticular” images — several layers of the same image, each treated and colored differently, backlit and viewed through a lenticular, or striated, magnifying lens. They are the product of intensive Photoshopping — up to 30 or 40 layers each. The picture shifts as you move in front of it. So when you move, the image shift, while brief, is pronounced, a disruptive flutter before the picture snaps back to clarity, albeit now in a different alignment. Think kaleidoscopes.
Stanford’s latest photo montage exhibit is part of his Indra’s Jewels, and is available as a book. You can sample more of Stanford’s work on his Vimeo channel, https://vimeo.com/jamesstanford. These short, often silent, videos can be mesmerizing.