10 Best Artworks We Saw in Metro Phoenix in June 2016

It looks like Arizona artists had landscapes on the brain last month — from desert sands to beaches of shells. One created a jewel-like installation using images with subtle variations of tree rings. Another wrapped walls in coral-inspired ceramic forms that mirror the blooming cactus flowers. Some chose urban landscapes, while others explored the inner landscapes of memory and identity. We found these 10 works and installations the most intriguing.

Change Over Time
Ellen McMahon

Tucson artist Ellen McMahon’s Change Over Time features images of Piñon Pines captured by University of Arizona scientists using hemispherical photography, which she arranged in concentric circles to highlight their “jewel-like beauty.” Moving outward from its center, these images progress from showing healthy trees to dead and dying forests, conveying the canopy loss that leads to microclimate change. It’s part of the “S.T.E.A.M.” exhibition that continues through September 17 at The Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Denver Haze
Rossitza Todorova

This lithography, gouache, and graphite on paper work is one of several pieces from Todorova’s “Intersections” series – which presents an opportunity to gallery-goers who’ve seen recent exhibitions featuring Todorova’s three-dimensional works to explore a broader range of her art practice. Todorova’s work was recently part of the “2015 Contemporary Forum Artists Grant Winners” exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum. Denver Haze is one of several Todorova works included in Modified Arts’ “Seeing Arizona: Independents’ Week” exhibition that continues through July 9.

Sama Alshaibi and Michael Fadel

The movement of this kinetic sculpture filled with white sand, which references “the rippling motion of ocean waves and the trek of Bedouins traveling over curving lines of desert dunes,” is part of an installation by Sama Alshaibi and Michael Fadel. It also includes a video and sound component featuring a man rowing a paddle in a desert landscape void of water. It’s part of the “southwestNET Sama Alshaibi: Silsila” exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which includes large-scale photographs and videos by Alshaibi, an Iraqi-born artist living in both Palestine and Tucson, whose work explores connections between self, humanity, the natural world, and the divine. The exhibition continues through September 18.

In the Fullness of Time
Farraday Newsome

Farraday Newsome, who works with fellow ceramics artist and husband Jeff Reich in their Indigo Street Pottery studio in Mesa, has spent more than two decades creating vessels of red terra cotta clay, exploring “ideas of lushness, sadness, time, and grace” with painterly surfaces that often feature images of familiar objects such as fruit, clocks, seed pods, and insects. More recently, she’s been painting – creating works incorporating similar objects and themes. In the Fullness of Time, first spotted during the 2016 ASU Ceramics Research Center Ceramics Studio Tour, is now part of the “Reflections of Arizona” exhibition at Shemer Art Center, which continues through August 4.

Taking the Long Way Home
Ciel Hendershot

Between two well-known Roosevelt Row venues, The Firehouse and The Nash jazz mecca, there’s an artist studio and exhibition space called Warehouse 1005, where Phoenix artist Ciel Hendershot opened her first-ever art exhibition, called “Emergence,” during June’s Third Friday. In her artist statement, Hendershot says her artistic process involves “meandering” without knowing what she’s going to do next. The “not knowing” is essential, she says. Nearly three dozen of her works are part of the exhibition, which continues through July 7.

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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble

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