Art Scene

A peek at four Valley art exhibits

"The Landmine Prints" at Burton Barr Central Library: ASU professor John Risseeuw's unique approach to printmaking includes what he calls "content-specific paper" -- handmade paper composed of materials that relate to the topic of the artwork itself. Risseeuw brings together more than a dozen such works in "The Landmine Prints" at the @Central Gallery. In this series, shredded money from countries that make land mines melds with the clothing of land-mine victims, representing both victim and aggressor. Each piece includes a small text description of what went into the paper creation, and Risseeuw notes, "Many people read that paragraph and then drop the paper. That connection between arms, money and death is painful." The human tragedy of land mines is directly connected to the artistic discussion Risseeuw presents. The imagery includes photos of victims, maps of countries such as Cambodia and drawings of the three-inch packages of death themselves. Though he uses text liberally throughout the works, these are not just high-end political posters. The quality of printmaking and aesthetic presentation make these powerful works inheritors of a history of art whose themes are based in social commentary. Risseeuw is donating all proceeds from the show to victim-assistance programs. Through September 28, @Central Gallery, Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-256-3521.

Xicanindio at Tempe Public Library: Tucked away upstairs in the Tempe Public Library are prints from local and regional Latino/Chicano and Native American artists produced at Mesa's tiny but vibrant Xicanindio Artes. Xicanindio is more than just a place for artists to make prints -- it's one of the surprisingly few local arts organizations dedicated to presenting indigenous art and culture. The City of Tempe's Cultural Services Division organized the show with Xicanindio's director, Dina Lopez. Highlights of the exhibition include Randy Kemp's intriguing Indian version of a centaur, Martin Moreno's funky Zoot Suit, and Baje Whitethorne's touching auntie-and-child scene. The works are all monotypes and mono silkscreens -- which means they're unique pieces, not multiples or editions. Most were produced during one of Xicanindio's group printing workshops which encourage artists to inspire each other's creativity by working together. Through November 15, Tempe Public Library, second floor gallery, 3500 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, 480-350-5500 or www.xicanindio.com.

"The Art of the Bullfight" at Lisa Sette Gallery: With regrets to PETA, the passion of the bullfight is alive and well at Lisa Sette Gallery. Works range from Ruvan Afanador's intimate portraits of the sensuous bodies and sparkling costumes of the matadors to Livia Corona's shots of Enanitos Toreros or Midget Bullfighters (yes, little people with teenaged bulls). Jessica Joslin's Diminuito, a tiny bull's head assembled from what appears to be a bird skull accented by antique hardware, shows well alongside Jorge Simes' emotional, poetry-strewn paintings (with haunting text like "No, don't plunge it into me"). Overall, there's more than a little sympathy for the bulls while the bullfighters elicit a vigorous respect despite their controversial talents. Most important, the artworks shown are beautifully rendered, sensitive portrayals of one of the world's oldest sports. Through September 28, Lisa Sette Gallery, 4142 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, 480-990-7342.

7th Avenue Streetscape: The new light box installation on Seventh Avenue north of Indian School Road is not your typical public art project. Unlike most, its artwork will change twice a year, giving the neighborhood a vibrant boost and artists a round of opportunities to get their work out on the street. The revitalization project is one of the city's liveliest to date and proof that there is still creative energy -- and, more important, support for it -- in the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture. Composed of three large, double-sided Plexiglas panels lighted from inside and placed within a newly landscaped plot, the artworks on display are actually reproductions of paintings by local artists Quetzal Guerrero, Elizabeth Pfeiffer and Erin Sotak. Selected by a panel that included the area's business owners and residents, the location has actual potential to become a local gathering spot -- especially as the panels change every six to eight months, earning the site its intriguing tag line of "an ongoing urban gallery." Current works up through December, intersection of Seventh Ave. and Glenrosa, Phoenix, 602-262-4637.

 
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