Phoenix has a paradoxical appeal to it, much like the street hag on Van Buren with the endearing underbite. And although the citys layout and architecture may seem alienating to the unfamiliar visitor, its intrigue often builds over time to acquire a weird, outlandish charm. Its an insiders view, perhaps, but all it takes is a willingness to see the beautiful in the mundane.
Painter Laura Spalding has this sort of sensibility, and seeks to exalt the ordinary. Depicting such things as highways, unpopulated neighborhoods, and power lines streaking across blue skies, she paints with an earnestness that brings out the warmth and unexpected beauty of urban sights. As she says on her Web site, her work expresses a struggle to come to terms with rival aesthetics in urban landscapes, and it reconciles the assimilated manmade objects with the nature they are often deemed to obscure.