Martinez's colorful, introspective works examine the human body's inner workings in layers of acrylic, gouache, casein, and pencil on paper and canvas. The focal point of her offerings is a large-scale pair of human forms on paper, Body Female: A Self Portrait and Body Male (2011-2012), the latter of which is a depiction of the artist's husband with their cat. Martinez pits the brain against the pelvis, visualizing the internal conflict between intellect and instinct. While engrossing in detail, her portion of the exhibit feels a tad out of place because of her liberal use of layered color, compared to Shindell's set palette of earthy neutrals and Lavender's grayscale. But her manner of pulling out and examining ears and kidneys, among other body parts, reinforces the idea of increasing awareness through its milagro-style isolation.

A collage of works in "Creative-Man-Nature" by Mary Shindell, Carolyn Lavender, and Monica Aissa Martinez
Courtesy of Mesa Contemporary Arts
A collage of works in "Creative-Man-Nature" by Mary Shindell, Carolyn Lavender, and Monica Aissa Martinez
Carolyn Lavender's Stethekin Deer 2
Courtesy of Mesa Contemporary Arts
Carolyn Lavender's Stethekin Deer 2

Location Info


Mesa Contemporary Arts

1 E. Main St.
Mesa, AZ 85211

Category: Art Galleries

Region: Mesa


"Creature-Man-Nature" is on view at Mesa Contemporary Arts, 1 E. Main St., through April 28. For more information, visit or call 480-644-6560.

The works in "Creature-Man-Nature" are unified by strong vertical imagery in Martinez's figures, Lavender's trees, and Shindell's cacti. Their subjects are diverse, but the complex pieces find common ground through intense introspection. With each piece, the artists reveal obsessions with their topics. Shindell and Martinez pull apart their subjects to reveal their insides, while Lavender collects very real specimens in her daily life to inhabit her unreal scenes. Together they suggest that one's self and surroundings both require further exploration. Shindell's mountain peak, with its plastic flora, and Lavender's lengthy video component are what make the exhibition more than an exercise in coexistence. They transform the space into a habitat — even if it's challenging to survey.

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