As most Arizonan’s know, this past Tuesday February 14, 2012 marked the Grand Canyon State’s 100th birthday. There are many events going on around the state to celebrate the centennial, among them is a photography show at the MonOrchid Gallery in downtown Phoenix. “The Forty-Eighth: Contemporary Photography at Arizona’s Centennial,” with co-curator William LeGoullon, sets out to highlight the work of eleven photographers, but uniquely does not include any of your typical Grand Canyon landscapes as one would assume. Instead, LeGoullon’s purpose was to create a show that captures various points-of-view of the state’s changing landscapes, all the while, helping to promote some lesser-known photographers in the community. LoGoullon states, “All the artists show a different side of Arizona through a similar aesthetic, but very different perspectives.”
This seems like an intriguing show that is worth a look. It would be interesting to see Arizona’s changing landscapes in regards to its ever-growing urban societies. In that respect, the exhibition will not only be about Arizona and its past as it celebrates its centennial, but also about the current living and growing view of the state today. It almost sounds like the exhibition will be more like a documentation of the history of the state mixed with the present. And somewhere in between you may discover and see things in everyday life that you may never have noticed before.
The exhibition is currently on display in the MonOrchid Gallery located at 214 E. Roosevelt St. The first showing was this past Tuesday, but there will be another reception tonight, Friday February 17, at 7:00 p.m. I strongly encourage you to attend if Arizona landscapes, culture, and history are of interest to you, as well as fine art photography. If you are unable to attend tonight, the exhibition will be open until March 23.
See Downtown Devil article for more information.
Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to First Friday and the exhibits this weekend. I was very disappointed by this because I have never been to First Friday and wanted to go. Fortunately, I stopped by the Harry Wood Art Gallery again to see Nathaniel Lewis’s sculpture exhibition, Bigger Than You.
This exhibition was very extensive and interesting in its concept and presentation. When I walked into the gallery, I was confronted with many little figures that looked like faceless children. But, the figure that caught my attention first was the giant bean-bag looking figure sitting tall in the center of the gallery. Of course, I immediately knew that this was going to be my favorite part of the gallery. Its size was amazing in itself and was the defining object of the gallery title because it was by far the biggest object in the space. All the other smaller sculptures resided around this center sculpture.
I found this one piece of the exhibition the most interesting, not only because of its size, but because it seemed like the only subject in the space that was made of a fabric material rather than a sculptural clay material. This, along with its size, made it stand out above the rest, which I felt was a powerful part of the exhibition.
The rest of the smaller pieces ranged in sizes, numbers, and colors. They were set up throughout the rest of the gallery space. There were some looking like they were playing together in front of the big sculpture, and others appeared as smaller ants sprouting out of the corner of the room. They all exhibited very bright colors consisting of red, green, blue, and yellow, which I thought may have been to portray this childish feel to the exhibition. Although, there was another out of the ordinary piece that was shown crawling on the wall. This piece was brown, setting it apart from the others and there was a brown trail behind it, making it appear that it came right out of the ceiling. The trail was dripping down the wall showing that it was fresh.
The space as a whole was in action. Every part of the gallery seemed to have movement to it, which I found to be a fascinating aspect to the show. It was as though the Lewis freeze-framed a scene from his imagination and portrayed it here to share. This exhibition was definitely worth the time to walk though.
Just the other day, I visited the Harry Wood Art Gallery which featured Sungyee Kim’s MFA exhibition entitled Meditation/Philosophy. The works that she presented were two-dimensional paintings, which she claims have spiritual values. The way she put it is that her paintings open the door to the ideal, that nature is not comprehensible and neither is good artwork because it resembles nature. Interesting enough, Sungyee views the incomprehensiveness of nature as the reason why all questions and communications start. “We do not have any plausible answer to what life is, but we cannot stop thinking and talking about it. A good art work can only show the endeavor to reach the answer” (Sungyee).
This is the basis to all the paintings she exhibited. As interesting as her thoughts were in her artist statement, I felt rather bored with her paintings that expressed her thoughts. They were somewhat interesting to look at for a second, but as I looked harder, I was just not interested anymore. I think this may have to do with the fact that she used very neutral colors of blacks, grays, and reds. The only thing that was remotely interesting were some of the designs she incorporated into paintings.
For instance, I liked the circular design of her painting, Wheels of Changes, that intrigued me, but only to the design itself. The use of, or rather lack of colors, absolutely bored me while I studied the painting. The other painting that I found interesting as far as design was Formula of Niagara Falls. I liked this one overall, because it had that tranquil sense of flowing water that I really liked. Yet, the grayness of the paintings still put me off.
However, there was one painting out of the whole exhibition that I really liked; it was titled Meditation. This painting was just black and white, but the space that was revealed of light and dark really spoke to me. And, it was at this point that I could feel and comprehend what Sungyee was talking about in her artist statement. I was able to feel it with this simple painting. I had no color problem with this painting either because I loved the way the black and white space was so tranquil.
Overall, Sungyee’s exhibition was interesting, even though I did not thoroughly enjoy all of the work that she featured. I can still appreciate what she was doing as an artist with the paintings that I liked. It was still a captivating experience because of the feel of the exhibit as a whole. The gallery had this serene and peaceful nature to it that I really like and really could connect to, which created a pleasing experience.
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