A small upstairs gallery in UNLV’s student union is your regrettably out-of-the-way destination if you want some Spiritual Aberration — an exhibit that finds UNLV digital photography students defying the frothy aesthetic of summer by examining the portentous topics of deviance and divinity.
As you might imagine, works mixing the two offer the most intriguing results. A catholic altar of traditional relics intermixed with drugs, money, and an assault rifle in Claudia Cordero-Pacheco’s “Dangerous Faith” presents symbols of violence, intoxication, and greed as social objects of veneration. Bailey Hart’s “Mother Music” nods at divine inspiration with a gold-robed figure, rosary beads replaced by ear buds and the halo by a record titled “Milk and Honey.” Nicole Overman’s image of a voluptuous female in white lace floating in a tub of milky water destabilizes virtues of the bridal and maternal with unsettling overabundance. Hinting at transformation, a white-hot neon halo fires up in front of a blurred figure in Fallon Quinn’s “Awakening.” In Quinn’s “Metamorphosis” a shadowed reptilian snout morphs into a female visage, then phasing into a pale, wraith-like form. In both works the spiritual dominates the physical. Which is as it should be in a show like this.
Spiritual Aberration, through July 19, UNLV’s Student Union Gallery, free, unlv.edu