Featured photo: Margaret Bourke-White’s “Russian Orthodox Worshipers” (1941), as seen at Northlight Gallery. Image by Deborah Ross.
To save time and energy during my First Friday wanderings, I leapfrogged over Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix last night (September 1, 2017). Yet I had no problem getting my fill of exceptional art by local artists and others. Here are a few highlights:
Northlight Gallery, Grant Street Studios, Arizona State University, has a must-see collection of works by famous photographers and photojournalists. It’s a virtual time machine through photography’s earliest days as an art form, up through its superstars of the 20th century. “Regarding the Canon: The Solari Foundation Collection” showcases works by Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, Brassai, Margaret Bourke-White, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, and more. I stood in awe before a wall bearing an Andy Warhol Polaroid of Dennis Hopper, a gelatin silver print of Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon, and a montage of “Celebrated American Actresses” by Mathew Brady. See what I mean? Superstars. Also worth spending time with are the essays accompanying each photo, written by ASU professors and students. Fortunately, the exhibit has extended its run into the first week of October. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, as well as First Fridays and third Thursdays.
New City Studio on Central Avenue (across the street from the very sad-looking Burton Barr Central Library) has a wonderful show called “Eyes on Us,” featuring figurative paintings by Tyler Griese and Larry Madrigal. Both Phoenix artists go for realism, with Griese tending more toward earthy brushstrokes and narrative yet enigmatic poses, while Madrigal prefers a softer and more romantic focus, yet still adding just the right amount of mystery to his subjects’ poses and lookin’-right-at-ya expressions. Also, congrats to Madrigal for being included in a recent “Under the Radar” feature in ArtSlant. Wish the gallery had daytime and weekday hours, but at least it’s open First and Third Fridays.
Chartreuse on Grand Avenue is featuring Arizona artist Charmagne Coe with a plentiful array of her mixed media works combining surrealism and semi-abstraction. Her facility with pastels, watercolors and ink — creating dreamy swirls of color interspersed with hints of recognizable animal and human forms — is quite impressive. I really like the way that her delicate watercolors wash over the pastels to bring out the latter medium’s glistening qualities. The show, called “The Reaches,” continues on Third Friday, Sept. 17.
The Lodge on Grand Avenue transforms from a small space for three artists into a funky gallery every First and Third Friday. I chatted with one of the artists, Rafael Navarro, and admired his multi-faceted work, especially the guitars that he hollows out and decorates.
Highlights on RoRo or elsewhere that I should have included in my itinerary for the evening? Feel free to comment below.