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July 24, 2014

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Like Rockwell, with a twist

Expatriate Vegas artist’s work raises questions about what’s real and what’s ideal

IF YOU GO

What: “Right/Left Behind You”

Where: Trifecta Gallery inside the Arts Factory, 103 E. Charleston Blvd.

When: Noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, noon to 2 p.m. Saturday or by appointment

Admission: Free; 366-7001 or www.trifectagallery.com

Casey Weldon is a storyteller whose twists on Americana break apart Rockwellian idealism to reveal the cleverly portrayed drama of reality.

Childhood fears and wants are played out in surreal scenes, rabbits pose elegantly in wheelchairs and on wooden legs — a proud testament to their sacrifice for good luck — and Bombi’s eyes glow blue in a nuclear rendition of the iconic Disney deer. Call it the perfect blend of Willy Loman and “The Brady Bunch.”

But beyond the wit, the collective nostalgia and subdued quandaries, it’s Weldon’s technical skill and illustrative qualities that really sink you into the theatrical vignettes.

The painter and freelance illustrator, who left Las Vegas for Brooklyn last September, returns briefly for a solo show at Trifecta Gallery in the Arts Factory.

He has become a collector’s favorite. We look at the recent work in “Right/Left/Behind You” and give you a quick guide to knowing that you own a Weldon:

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Something is off kilter: The young girl in a flannel nightie sitting on a Victorian settee holding the pink skeleton of a pet dog creates a perfectly ambiguous scene.

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There is a sad dose of reality: The young woman, caught between childhood and adulthood, sits in the grass by the river in a patterned, low-cut minidress, holding the head of a "dollified child."

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A daunting story is told: Maybe it's the dark gaze. Maybe it's the lonely tone, the age spots, white hair, wrinkles, suit and tie and tipped glass that create this somber scene of a man who's had enough (of something) and sits pensively before flocked wallpaper as pink woolly mammoths march past.

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An element of playfulness: Junk food, sex toys, pot pipes, deforestation and festive skulls are all modern-day indulgences in "Traditional American Headdresses, Series 2."

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Fun portrayals of family life: The perfect parents in the perfect clothes stand behind their perfect daughter with perfect ringlets and perfect eyes -- an amalgamation of doll and little girl. The parents stare in different directions.

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