A new work in the show is Ellsworth's Well, I've Been Standing Here. This installation includes a set of white-tiered steps, into which has been submerged a stair-climber. Only the exercise equipment's two foot-pedals are visible. Behind the tiered pedestal is a large backdrop with a royal blue sky and puffy cumulus clouds. The effect of the backdrop is celestial, heavenly. Is the person on the pedestal walking in the clouds? Or on the treadmill to spiritual transcendence?

The title of the piece comes from a line in the Stevie Nicks song "Stand Back." In the video for that song, Nicks walks down a treadmill with chiffon fabric flowing all around her.

Ellsworth says the installation references Salt Lake City's Tempe Square visitor's center, which has a blue, curved wall with a cosmos mural leading to a sculpture of Jesus in robes standing in front of it. The pedestal with two pedals on Ellsworth's Well, I've Been Standing Here alludes to the presence of a body, even though a body is absent in the installation. Much of Ellsworth's work is exploring the visibility/invisibility of women. In this piece, the viewer is allowed to imagine whomever she might want to imagine in that heavenly space. A video of the artist walking, dressed in pink sister-wife garb and flowing chiffon fabric, plays on a monitor to the right of the installation. 

An untitled still from Angela Ellsworth's Stand Back
Courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum
An untitled still from Angela Ellsworth's Stand Back
Rebecca Campbell's Mary Had a Little Lamb.
Courtesy of Phoenix Art Museum
Rebecca Campbell's Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Location Info

Map

Phoenix Art Museum

1625 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Category: Museums

Region: Central Phoenix

Details

"Seeing Is Believing"
will be on display at Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., through Monday, January 23. Visit www.phxart.org or call 602-257-1222. Admission is $10.

There is aggression in this show — female aggression. It contains vibrant color and seductiveness, but make no mistake: Heavy undercurrents creep in as you spend time in the gallery space. There is something badass and forceful in the work. It is threaded with purposefulness yet succeeds at the same time in being beautiful, lush, and even delicate.

There is a lot at play in "Seeing Is Believing." And the timing couldn't be more right. Recently, two "I am Mormon" billboards went up in my Phoenix neighborhood, as the LDS church rolls out an ad campaign here. These same billboards have been released in other cities, debuting in New York City this past summer. The ads seem to be saying, "Look how normal I am" without any of the complex questions or emotional conflict simmering throughout this show. The ads are another, albeit totally sanitized, invitation to "see."

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