Some people argue that all of human cultural history boils down to communication and its signs -- not the signs we encounter daily on the street, but semiotics, the elements of meaning that surround us in infinite forms.
John Randall Nelsons exhibit, Alter-Native Signs, incorporates a different type of everyday sign: Recycled street and traffic signs from the Scottsdale Transportation Department. Crafted in two and three dimensions, his works including a 15-foot tall weathervane sculpture utilize signs to invite a dialogue about significance in our multicultural society.
Like the meanings they invoke, Nelsons works are layered. From a distance, their lively forms -- rabbits, plants and coyote men suggestive of indigenous imagery -- appear to mock the staid stick-people adorning pedestrian signs. Nelsons works are anything but pedestrian, however. Approach closer, and additional words and images emerge from their near-burial in paint.