Featured photo: “Flowers, Rocks, and Wind III,” made of wood, aluminum and acrylic, by Michael Afsa, as seen at Lotus Contemporary.
In keeping with my previous post about the abundance of high-caliber art that’s traveled to the Phoenix area this month, this post homes in on the fine work being done by local artists, as demonstrated in the Third Friday art walks on Roosevelt Row and Grand Avenue. The shows I saw were all well-attended and convivial, and without the hustle and bustle of First Friday art walks. My only snafu involved trying to dodge all the holiday cookies and cupcakes that the galleries had set out. Look at the art, Ross, not the treats!
A few side notes as you look at the slide show:
The compact exhibitions in the three shipping containers-turned-galleries, collectively called the hotboxes, were uniformly strong, and it’s wonderful to see phICA carry on with its changing shows, despite all the forced movement caused by new development on the Row. December features Daniel Alcalá (from Mexico City) with photographs, drawings and paper cuttings that comment on the incursion of industrial and commercial activity onto pristine arid landscapes. Also on view is an installation by Alberto Aguilar, who delights in the idea of turning a shipping container into an art gallery and has plastered it with paper, string and mirrors to further disorient viewers and deepen the paradox. In the third hotbox, well-known Arizona artist William LeGoullon serves as curator of “Traces,” bringing together landscape photographs by Edgar Cardenas and Buzzy Sullivan, many of which are scenes provoking thought on human engagement. In the Cardenas photo in my slide show, that is indeed Mark Klett — one of our state’s best-known photographers — at work in the kind of remote landscape that he loves. LeGoullon, in his curator’s statement, says, “… the artists find themselves within the long continued dialogue between photographers and landscape, where the land is man’s protagonist, his hero, and his adversary.”
At Eye Lounge, the winter group exhibition proves that the rotating members of this longtime Phoenix artists collective continue to hold high standards — there are several excellent pieces. The show continues until January 17.
I stopped by Chartreuse on Grand Avenue for the first time, where the continued use of the old Bragg’s Pie Factory building as an art gallery is encouraging. Word is, even more wonderful things are in store for this historic district, and I can’t wait until a new iteration of Barrio Cafe opens right next door to the gallery.
Speaking of arts district growth, the new Unexpected Art Gallery on Polk Street at Seventh Avenue is full of potential, an amazing 35,000 feet of space in the former locations of Midway Chevrolet and Miller Store Fixtures. Owners John and Sammy Lines are lovingly restoring the building and promise to fill it with art spaces, maker workshops, and social gatherings. Plus, it’s strategically located within walking distance of Grand Avenue. Initially, it will be open First Fridays and hopefully will become part of local art lovers’ monthly circuit.