Featured photo: The Bruce Munro installation “BLOOMS” on the Scottsdale Waterfront. Photo by Deborah Ross.
Although a few longtime Scottsdale galleries have moved or bitten the dust in the past couple of years, in many cases new galleries have taken their place, and the best of the established bunch are still going strong. Strolling along Main Street and Marshall Way is still a great way to spend a Thursday evening this time of year: nearby restaurants and bars fling open their doors and musicians are scattered on various corners. Coming up is the March 3, 2016, “New West ArtWalk,” sponsored by the Scottsdale Gallery Association, which will feature live entertainment by Native American and Western-themed performers.
Here are a few highlights from my January 14, 2016, Scottsdale ArtWalk:
— One of my favorite Phoenix artists, John Randall Nelson, has a solo show up at Gebert Contemporary, where you’ll find mixed media works that appear lighthearted or primitive on the surface, but which always demand closer inspection for deeper meanings and an appreciation of their layered rendering. There’s a surprisingly totemic wood piece that grabs your attention — how tall is that thing anyway? Nelson titled his show “60, 30, 15 … mélange” to signify his approaching 60th birthday and to mark the fact that he is showing 30 works concurrently in Scottsdale and at Eye Lounge in Phoenix. In addition, he’s celebrating 15 successful years with Gebert. Catch the show until February 12.
— Tilt Gallery is a must-stop for its fifth annual “Photography Re-imagined: The Artist’s Hand,” a show of 33 pieces juried by prominent photographer Holly Roberts. Each piece is mixed media featuring a one-of-a-kind photographic image, which makes for highly innovative explorations of various materials in two and three dimensions.
— Xanadu Gallery is often jam-packed with delightful pieces from a slew of artists. I’m glad I stopped in and met Dave Newman of Prescott, whose eye-catching mixed media works are called “American Pop Revisited.” Find lots of assemblage of found objects and screened printing, incorporating Old West and Americana iconography. The works are on view until February 15.
— Speaking of Americana and the West, Altamira Fine Art has a wonderful solo show featuring LA painter Robert Townsend. Called “Dreamland,” the show creates nostalgia for a simpler time, through figurative and hyperrealistic works using oils and watercolors. Townsend says Wayne Thiebaud and Robert Bechtle are among his influences.
— British painter Peregrine Heathcote, one of Bonner David Galleries‘ most popular artists, has several new works up, many of which incorporate highly detailed renditions of vintage cars and clothing recalling pre-WWI 20th century. Think “The Great Gatsby.”
— MEI Gallery is one of the new kids on the block. I enjoyed the traditional ledger paintings with a contemporary spin by Dolores Purdy of the Caddo Tribe in Oklahoma. “MEI” stands for Mary Elizabeth Irene, who founded the gallery on Canyon Road in Santa Fe and recently expanded to Scottsdale’s Main Street. Her roster of artists includes many familiar names in contemporary Native American art.
— Also new to the scene is TLEE Gallery and Studio, where Phoenix artist Tina Lee displays her mixed media works, notably her mosaic work using actual guitars of all sizes. They are quite dazzling.
As you wander the Scottsdale arts district, be sure to walk just a couple blocks farther to the Scottsdale Waterfront for a unique photo op: “BLOOMS” by British light installation artist Bruce Munro, a project of Scottsdale Public Art. The lighted “fishing rods” will be the main attraction at Canal Convergence: Water + Art + Light, slated for February 25-28.