Here I am, blatantly stealing Justin Germain’s lines from a media statement for June’s First Friday show “Thermal PHX” at the MonOrchid gallery:
“The title for this exhibition comes from my memories of learning from my parents, both hang glider pilots, about how to fly using heat bubbles, or ‘thermals’ that rise from the desert floor to take a kite or bird higher into the sky. The concept is much like that of a hot air balloon; heat rises and anything that can catch that movement can climb with it.
“This exhibition is meant to be a ‘thermal’ for emerging local artists, to help them elevate their work by providing them an exhibition opportunity in a major art space during our long, hot summer here in Phoenix. It also serves the purpose of providing a space for people who actually live here year round to visit and get out of their home or office and enjoy a night of culture!” says Germain, MonOrchid’s art program director.
Well said, Justin! And thanks for putting together an enjoyable show. Among the paintings, sculptures and mixed media works catching my eye were:
— Oil paintings by Anthony Vasquez, with images of human peril that seem to suggest mythological or religious themes.
— Trick-the-eye, Mobius-strip-style sculptures by Kevin Caron. The monOrchid show spotlights a few of his smaller pieces, although Caron often creates large-scale pieces suitable for outdoor public art.
— Celebrity-imbued portraits with a deeper message by Larry Willis.
— Mixed media pieces by Sarah Kriehn, along with abstract paintings by Jayme Blue and the surrealistic illustrations of Lee Davis.
“Thermal PHX,” running through August 31, 2013, showcases almost two dozen Phoenix artists in all and is a fitting way to deepen appreciation of our city’s art scene.
Although my time to ride the heat waves down Roosevelt Row was limited, I did make my requisite stop at Modified Arts, where I was mesmerized by David Dauncey’s oil portraits of — I’m guessing — prisoners? Anyway, with their piercing stares and downcast expressions, the men on canvas looked like a lineup of bad guys, or at least guys with interesting stories to tell. Part of a group show, the work is up through June 15, 2013, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the founding of the downtown Phoenix artists collective 3CarPileUp, consisting of Dauncey and fellow painters Randy Slack and James Angel.
Down the street, also worth a look, are the pieces by T.J. Hogan at Eye Lounge, where the artist projects video onto cast-glass sculptures — a quite inspired combination. See it through June 16, 2013.
My trusty Honda (not heat waves) transported me to R. Pela Contemporary Art at Third Avenue and McDowell, where the crowd swelled to almost 100 people during a performance art piece by Jeff Falk. He was quite the ham (you’ll get the pun if you saw it). Also on hand: several wonderful pieces gracing the wall and the floor space for the group show “Klown!” Not all of them will make you laugh, or even smile, but that’s the point. The show is up through June 30, 2013.