By Benjamin Leatherman
By Robrt L. Pela
By Katrina Montgomery
By Robrt L. Pela
By Kathleen Vanesian
By New Times
By Ray Stern
By Eric Tsetsi
"The Heart Show" at the Paper Heart: Artists are often accused of thinking with their hearts, especially when it comes to the creative process. So it's only fitting that this juried showcase of more than 20 different works focuses on the organ itself, as well as its symbolism and significance. Some entries seem cloying, like Melissa Bartlett's Home, an alabaster carving of an intertwined couple in a love nest. A pair of prints by Kjellgren Alkire (Dill Heart and Vascular Maple) offers little creativity or insight, as sandwiched imagery of the vascular systems of plants and humans is silkscreened over with farmhouses. Things get more clever with Lee Berger's painting Diagram -- charting the portions of the heart that store and process information -- and downright bizarre with Tony Ash's A9&Hearts, a cardiac-shaped device made from twisted wire and flashing red LEDs. A mixed bag of mixed media. Through February 28. The Paper Heart, 750 Grand Ave., Phoenix, 602-262-2020. -- B.L.
Tato Caraveo at The Lost Leaf: Some guys have all the luck. Besides serving as the bassist for the jazz trio Sonorous, turns out Adaupto "Tato" Caraveo is a talented surrealist painter to boot. His stunning 15-piece untitled oeuvre features touches of the inanity of Salvador Dali (an admitted influence) and matches the Spaniard's quirk of recurring motifs, but in Tato's case it's persistent memories of jazz and bizarre beings. The former factors into otherworldly depictions of eccentric musicians saturated in primary colors. In one vivid work, a piano player performs in a cerulean-drenched dream, so stirred by the music that the blur of his movement gives him a multifaceted appearance; a portrait of Christ smokes a cigarette in the background. The paintings are also populated by comically disproportionate figures, like a misshapen Abraham Lincoln riding a tricycle, as well as oddly anorexic elephants and sheep. Through March 31. The Lost Leaf, 1510 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, 602-574-3957. -- B.L.
"Brian Alfred: The Future Is Now!" at the Phoenix Art Museum: New York-based artist Brian Alfred ponders corporate culture and rampant industrialization in his latest exhibition. Although Alfred's retro-futuristic paintings and collages emphasize society's fascination with the digital age and subsequent sensory overload, his collection of work is surprisingly sensory-friendly. Minimalist scenery blends well with a muted and serene color palette. While Alfred's subject matter is ordinary (i.e., an FBI building, a bridge, a streetscape), his combination of color, line and surface texture creates utopian-like imagery. The highlight of the exhibition is a large-scale video installation composed of alternating vignettes of the artist's paintings and sculptures appropriately titled Overload. Tranquil and hypnotic, thanks in part to a repetitive pulsating score, the video addresses society's technological addictions and their haphazard effect on nature and man. Through March 6. Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-257-1222. -- C.C.
"Will Wilson: Auto Immune Response" at the Heard Museum: How do you survive in a postapocalyptic world? According to Will Wilson, the key to survival lies in an understanding of the past. The Navajo photographer explores this, as well as the concepts of Native American identity and connection to the land, through a series of powerful, in-your-face, mixed-media and photo-based installations. Wilson draws from his own past (the alienation felt as a child in exile at Phoenix Indian School) and that of his people to produce moving images that challenge established stereotypes of Native American art and the people who create it. Most poignant is a life-size steel hogan -- a refashioning of the traditional dwelling and its contents as a result of exposure to Anglo society and technology. "Auto Immune Response" is part of the museum's series "Artspeak: New Voices in Contemporary Art." Through September. Heard Museum, 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-8848. -- C.C.
Sculpture in the Streets: The streets of downtown Mesa are filled with teens playing soccer, dogs playing Frisbee, prancing horses, children gardening and chickens perched on pigs. It sounds very Main Street, Disneyland -- but instead it's Mesa's Main Street, between Country Club Drive and Mesa Drive, that will be inundated with a display of more than 70 sculptures 'til the snowbirds fly away. The sculpture project features work from artists across the country and also includes two privately owned pieces, as well as 22 pieces from the city's permanent collection. A number of sculptures are also located inside 12 West Gallery, 12 W. Main St.; Mesa Art 'N Framing Gallery, 48 W. Main St.; and the Imbeau Gallery, 119 W. Main St. Through April 15. -- A.Y.
"Arab Americans in Arizona" at Mesa Southwest Museum: This exhibition explores the migration of Arabic-speaking people to Arizona since the latter part of the 19th century, with a focus on examining the reasons that different nationalities from the Middle East chose to come to Arizona. Through April. Mesa Southwest Museum, 53 N. Macdonald, Mesa, 480-644-2230. -- A.Y.