I’m enjoying my ascent up the learning curve as I get to know more about the downtown Phoenix art scene, and much of that enjoyment comes from matching particular galleries with particular people — and recognizing more and more names in our city’s stable of artists.
A couple of hours were well spent at the First Friday Artwalk for May 3, 2013, during which I dropped into five galleries and chatted with four Phoenix artists:
– Gennaro Garcia, who was showing new drawings on paper at the Coe House. Curator Hugo Medina asked Garcia — who is well known around town and internationally for his work on the Calle 16 murals and other projects — to create something more intimate with portraits. Thus, the walls of this 1895 historic home displayed Garcia’s versions of temptresses, I guess you would call them, that were quite well done. Garcia said he hopes to open his own gallery in downtown Phoenix sometime this year.
– Sean Deckert, a Phoenix-based art photographer whose work captures the interplay of light, building forms and atmospheric conditions. Deckert’s work was part of a group show at Modified Arts called “The Sky is Falling.” By the way, Deckert was just named a grant winner in the Contemporary Forum’s annual competition for emerging artists, which leads to a display of work at the Phoenix Art Museum next year.
– Bryan Snider, a landscape photographer showing beautiful scenics at New City Studio. I gathered that Bryan is a bit of a storm chaser as he described how he once hurried to his car to capture some incredible lightning activity above Four Peaks.
– Henry Bellavia, whose second series of paintings with plays on words was up at Five15 Arts. Ah, the whimsy in works like “Headlands,” with its gray forms taking a cue from Easter Island, along with “Foothills” showing — you guessed it — hills shaped like feet and “Heart Attack,” with a menacing heart-shape gripping a knife. Bellavia’s work seemed to be a real crowd-pleaser.
An observation about this most recent First Friday: I saw quite a few more young families than usual among the throngs, and didn’t mind sidestepping the strollers and little dawdlers. Still, I would advise families to get there on the early side.
Here’s a shout out to Raising Arizona Kids for mentioning First Friday in a May 2013 article on exploring Valley artwalks. And kudos to MonOrchid for hosting high school student Kayla Anderson and her life-size painted cow. Kayla was mustering votes for the annual Lucerne Art of Dairy competition. Similar kudos go to Eye Lounge, which hosted kids who had built a fort out of sheets and blankets. That rekindled some memories!
Dear galleries: Sometimes you can reach out to connect youngsters with the visual arts, and hopefully create a connection that will last a lifetime.