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
"Safe and Sound" at The Lords of Art Town: Artists Sukhvir Gill and Erika Palomares expand preconceived notions of bondage photography with this exhibition focusing on rope as an instrument of security rather than titillation. In Eternal Life, Palomares captures the hope of an ethereal beauty holding a glass jar, her pale skin overlaid with an ashlike texture. An artist's statement isn't always necessary, but in this case Palomares' work would benefit from the inclusion of background information. Each of Gill's models is tied, via Japanese rope binding, to the thing they prize most food, home, work. Check out The Impatient, a stark image of a young woman in a floral-print housedress tethered to an infant's crib. It's a tragically beautiful vignette, and one that'll make you think twice before adding another sheep to your flock. Admission is free. Through Sept. 30. 316 W. McDowell Rd., Ste. 103, Phoenix, 602-943-4044, www.the-lords-of-art-town.com.
"The Potter's Group: Clay Ensemble" at Chandler Center for the Arts: A common tenet holds that those who can't do . . . teach. Pottery instructor Alvin Pace substantiates this precept in his series of raw and muddled vases sporting visible seams that easily could have been mended with extra slip. Most of the student works on display are better suited to Aunt Susie's kitchen cupboards, but there are a few gallery-worthy pieces. James Yoder's background in physical chemistry shows in his deft handling of Bronze Crystal, a notoriously difficult glaze that produces dazzling sunbursts of crystals. In After the Passing, Sylvana Anderson-Gish channels her love of nature and the divine into a plump, rounded figure reminiscent of the Paleolithic Venus of Willendorf. Perhaps, like many teachers, Pace's gift lies in eliciting the talents of others. Admission is free. Through Oct. 14. 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, 480-917-6859, www.chandlercenter.org.
"A Sense of Place" at Herberger Theater Center: The Herberger's collection of interior and exterior landscapes is about one thing: location, location, location. Much like the real estate market, it's a mixed bag. Painter Christine Kierstead transcends ordinary pastel landscapes by illuminating the highlights cast on desert rocks at dusk. In contrast, the screaming reds and violets of Judy Feldman's Cleo in the Yellow Room are unsettling. Visible brush strokes and a raw, postmodern style lend a cartoonish quality to the piece. Don't miss Rhonda Shakur Carter's rustic wood-and-acrylic wall hanging Sweet Peas. A weathered old woman shelling peas on her front porch bears the wrinkles of wisdom and a warm smile that beckons viewers to come on in and sit a spell. It's a welcome sight for Southern transplants. Admission is free. Through Oct. 1. 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix, 602-254-7399, www.herbergertheater.org.
"David Pimentel: Legacy of an Artist and Educator" at Mesa Arts Center: The death of an artist usually brings instant celebrity and positive attention. In former ASU professor David Pimentel's case, the accolades are warranted. Look for his renowned series of copper vessels, each unique in form and crafted from a single sheet of copper, and Torchiere Lamp, a functional metal sculpture with thin sheets of glittering mica in lieu of glass. The exhibition also features work from the professor's greatest legacy the students he inspired, including MFA graduate John Tzelepis, whose magnetic steel tower follows the clean lines and aesthetic ideals of Pimentel's wall art. Admission is $3.50, free on Thursdays and second Sundays. Through Oct. 15. 1 E. Main St., Mesa, 480-644-6500, www.mesaartscenter.com.
"Holy Land: Diaspora and the Desert" at the Heard Museum: Something is definitely missing here. Only one Israeli artist is represented, and the closest thing to Jewish art is a photographic series exploring the Dead Sea. Still, this exhibition is worth checking out, even if just to ponder the meaning of Einar and Jamex de la Torre's Maybe, a Mayan head sputtering abstract poetry attached to a weathered camper, which even the museumÕs docents can't figure out. The most telling piece is the multimedia installation Treehouse Kit, in which artist Guy Ben-Ner is shown deconstructing and reassembling an abstract wooden tree to form basic necessities a bed, table, chair and umbrella. It proves that even when there's nothing to work with, we'll find a way to connect the dots. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for students. Through Dec. 31. 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-8848, www.heard.org.