Shimmering Zen | Book Launch

3 Nov 2017

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The London Library

England, United Kingdom


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Vintage Las Vegas Neon signs make Modern Mandalas in James Stanford’s new book Shimmering Zen


American contemporary artist James Stanford presents his new and extraordinary monograph Shimmering Zen.  The book will be launched on Friday 3 November 2017 at The London Library.

Shimmering Zen is a compilation of 150 of Stanford’s works created over the last fifteen years published in a large hardback format. Composed of digital photos of historic Las Vegas neon signage and architectural elements from the 1950s and 1960s, and shot in the Mojave Desert, Stanford artfully creates mesmerizing designs using newly developed purpose specific technology. Stanford’s group of intriguing digital montages convey and respond to the potency of the mandala as a symbol, and its influence and importance to Asian culture worldwide.

As a leading maker of contemporary Buddhist mandalas, Stanford’s work is an interpretation of the ancient traditions of Buddhism, drawing from historic metaphor, Chinese fable, and the aesthetics of the Tibetan Mandala. Born and raised in Nevada, Stanford grew up in a household of educators. He was inspired to become an artist after a transformative and spiritual moment at the Prado Museum in Madrid when he was a young man. This experience opened his mind to a higher consciousness, and this new spirituality became firmly entwined with his creativity. With the advent of Apple software, the tools of technology merged with his ambitious thirst for spiritual growth and education. This led to Stanford’s personal commitment to Zen Buddhism and cemented his unique creative identity.

Stanford says of his work, “Las Vegas neon signage, which I see as the former jewels of the desert night, have come together with the use modern technology, enabling me to weave it all together using the artifice of perfect symmetry into a spiritual object of meditation.”

In Stanford’s conceptually complex and visually sumptuous work, the mandala offers contemplation for both immaterial and material realities. Using a mix of traditional photographic and digital techniques, Stanford’s works are made unique and compelling by vividly illuminated moving networks and layers.

Shimmering Zen will include essays by the artist, the curator Elizabeth Herridge and a foreword by Jeff Rosen, Vice President, The Higher Learning Commission, Evanston, Illinois.

Shimmering Zen offers an insight into Stanford’s creative process and inspiration allied with original images of the signs, and accompanied by nostalgic tales of his Las Vegas life, including being on the set of Viva Las Vegas with Elvis Presley and Anne-Margaret.

The book Shimmering Zen (RRP £75) will be published by Ianthe Press Limited: London and launched with the exhibition. It will include essays by the artist and the curator, and a foreword by Jeff Rosen, Vice President, The Higher Learning Commission, Evanston, Illinois. Rosen’s book Julia Margaret Cameron’s ‘Fancy Subjects’: Photographic allegories of Victorian identity and empire was published recently by Manchester University Press.

James Stanford studied painting at the University of Washington (UW) (MFA) and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) (BFA) and also practices photography, digital illustration and drawing. Dedicated to creativity and the fine arts, he has taught at UNLV and UW, established the Smallworks Gallery, and curated exhibitions at various venues, including the Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Centre. He currently lives and works in Las Vegas.

The exhibition and selling show is curated by Elizabeth Herridge, art historian, author, and former Managing Director of the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, Las Vegas, as well as publisher, Ianthe Press: London.

The book Shimmering Zen will be launched on Friday 3 November 2017 at The London Library, 14 St James's Square, London SW1Y 4LG from 6.30-8.30pm. The event is free but places are limited and booking is recommended. To attend please email

The launch of the book is supported by an exhibition of Stanford’s visually stunning and intricately constructed modern mandala series, entitled Indra’s Jewels. The works will be exhibited for the duration of Asian Art in London 2017 opening at 99 Kensington Church Street on Thursday 2 November through Saturday 11 November. 

James Stanford is a featured participant during the Asian Art in London 2017 Dealer Open Evening event to be held at the gallery on Kensington Church Street on Saturday 4 November.

Asian Art in London 2017 brings together over sixty of the world’s top dealers, major auction houses and museums for an annual ten-day celebration of the finest in Asian art. Visitors will converge in London for the 20th anniversary edition offering gallery selling exhibitions, auctions, receptions, lectures and seminars.

The Shimmering Zen Exhibition runs from Thursday 2 November through Saturday 11 November 2017 at 99 Kensington Church St, London W8 7LN. Opening times are as follows:

Monday - Friday 09.30am - 6.30pm

Saturday, 4 November 10am - 9pm

Sunday, 5 November 10am - 6pm

Saturday, 11 November 10am - 6pm

Saturday, 11 November 10am - 6pm

For preview copies, invitations and RSVPs, or further information please contact:

Amelia Hubert or Anna Beketov, Damson PR on 0207 812 0645 or

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Elizabeth Herridge

Exhibiting artists

James Stanford


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