Featured photo: “Pool” by Abbey Messmer, at eye lounge, Phoenix.
Although my friend and I had only a few galleries on our must-see list for the Third Friday art walk on Roosevelt Row for September 18, 2015, each stop reaffirmed that downtown Phoenix galleries are brimming with variety, professionalism and experimentation.
Take Eye Lounge, for instance. Phoenix artist and Lounge member Abbey Messmer is known for her silky paintings of women in underwater scenes. For her show running through October 10, she chose to deconstruct her subject matter by creating a water-less swimming pool — complete with ladder! — in the front room of the gallery. Of course, the shadows and dancing colors in the darkened room made for excellent selfies and other photo ops — ensuring a fun vibe for whoever strolled in.
At the Northlight Gallery — which just relocated to ASU’s Grant Street Studios from its home of 43 years on the ASU main campus — the crowd enjoyed a top-notch inaugural show: “Nascent Site: Sight,” a variety of photographs and photo-based works by alumni for whom ASU’s photo program was the site of their nascent artistic vision. The artists include: Michelle and Melanie Craven, Sean Deckert, Krista Elrick, Jane Lindsay, Michael Marshall, Emily Matyas, Cole Robertson, Kris Sanford, Eduardo Uzumeckis, Joshua White and Byron Wolfe. You can catch “Nascent Site: Sight” (love the double meaning of that title) until October 17.
And also within the warehouse-like studios is Step Gallery, which this week and next is featuring newcomer Brianna Voron, showing her immaculately rendered paintings — mostly figurative — and mixed media works. I especially like the emotive and poignant quality of the works.
Over at Modified Arts, we enjoyed the concurrent solo shows (running through October 2) by John Randall Nelson and John Adelman. Nelson is a longtime Phoenix favorite, with large paintings that place graphic objects in unfamiliar settings. It was great to be introduced to Adelman, who relies on logic, the mechanical world and subtle humor to create mixed media works that incorporate objects like drill bits, broken frames, a tripod and an old phonograph needle, along with intense pen-and-ink drawings. Quote of the evening (from Adelman): “That’s one of the great things about being an artist — you get to do things that have never been done before.”
Finally, we made a worthwhile stop at monOrchid, where the charming Gennaro Garcia is wrapping up his solo show of paintings and ceramics that reflect his Latino heritage while commenting on modern times. We chatted about his lovely ceramic plates, which are intended for practical use; Garcia is a chef, among his many pursuits, and sees the plates as symbols of a giving spirit and feminine nurturing.
Enjoy the slideshow: