By Kathleen Vanesian
By Amy Silverman
By Robrt L. Pela
By Jim Louvau
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Benjamin Leatherman
By New Times
By Becky Bartkowski
Steve Davis and Chris Caufield at Modified Arts:"Found object" art has come a long way since Duchamp's urinal fountain. Steve Davis and Chris Caufield incorporate found objects into assemblage that stirs faded memories of antiquated technologies. Davis is the free spirit of the two, haphazardly decoupaging his old boarding passes underneath plastic model planes, and painting railways that spill over onto chipped thrift-store frames. Caufield is meticulous with his pieces, arranging reptile carcasses and antique specimen jars in perfect alignment so as to appear natural. Don't miss his Victory Cigarettes, a vintage neon light box adorned with sundry bottles and an inscription that advertises "more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette." It even smells like one of Pappy's tobacco pipes. Admission is free. Through Oct. 8. 407 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix, 602-462-5516, www.modified.org.
Catherine Hammond at Shemer Art Center:Having experienced the women's movement firsthand, Catherine Hammond understood the resistance she would face after naming her latest series of silk wall hangings and sculptural forms "The Girls." In Whirlwind, the impressions of a plump, motherly body are left in earthy green strokes amidst a jumble of undecipherable shapes. But the most telling piece is Fog, a mishmash of various printed body parts arranged to form a cartoonish little girl with big eyes and a pageboy haircut. The wispy silks resonate with feminine energy, but, unfortunately, they lack depth. Using a layered style, as in her earlier acrylic paintings, might have saved Hammond's girls from becoming dainty, one-dimensional airheads. So much for that women's lib talk. Admission is free. Through Oct. 13. 5005 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-262-4727, www.ci.phoenix.az.us/parks/shemer.html.
"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.
"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 museum's 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.