5 Cool Things We Saw at February's Third Friday in Downtown Phoenix

One of our favorites from "Onloaded: Alexis Duque" at the Hot Box Gallery in the Roosevelt A.R.T.S. Market.
One of our favorites from "Onloaded: Alexis Duque" at the Hot Box Gallery in the Roosevelt A.R.T.S. Market.
Rossitza Todorova

When in doubt, start your First and Third Friday art adventures with the trio of shipping containers turned gallery spaces at the Roosevelt Row A.R.T.S. Market, where interesting work and opportunities to talk with a diverse assortment of artists abound. That's our take home from this month's Third Friday, where Halt and Hot Box galleries continued to serve up fun and interesting fare.

Modest but energetic crowds infused spaces that were harder to navigate during First Friday, when crowds sometimes streamed through spaces like parades of ants rather than pausing to engage with the arts and culture that has made these events, and the Roosevelt Row arts district, such a draw.

See also: Rebecca Green returns to Phoenix to Paint New Mural at The Lodge on Grand Avevue

Alexis Duque at Hot Box Gallery

Like plenty of other folks, artist Rossitza Todorova made the trek from Tempe to downtown Phoenix, taking in both the opening reception for the ASU Art Museum's spring shows and several Third Friday shows. We spotted her admiring works by New York artist Alexis Duque, whose "Uploaded: Alexis Duque" exhibition continues at the Hot Box Gallery through March 15.

Curator Ted G. Decker describes paintings by Columbia born Duque as "archeological compilations of cultures built one upon another." While some see explorations of colonialism in its many forms, others are drawn by the familiarity of iconic images from Frida Kahlo and Mona Lisa to Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse.

Only a small couch placed in front of the sole painting on the container's short wall and a nifty magnifying glass would have upped our enjoyment of the show. Rich with detail and layers of meaning, we wanted to visually crawl inside several of Duque's works and linger at length to take in the full measure of their rich detail.

Works featured in "Rossitza Todorova: Fold & Cut" in the Eye Lounge Project Room.
Works featured in "Rossitza Todorova: Fold & Cut" in the Eye Lounge Project Room.
Lynn Trimble

Rossitza Todorova at Eye Lounge

Across the street, a steady stream of gallery goers explored the "Avant-Garde" exhibition featuring works by current and former members of the Eye Lounge arts collective. Folks who made their way to a small Project Room located off the main gallery saw Todorova's artist books and paper sculptures. The intimate space imbues her work, which is beautiful and technically precise, with warmth and just the right touch of whimsy.

Todorova's artist statement for this "Fold & Cut" exhibition explains her use of simple repeated geometry to explore ideas of time and space. The artist notes that these works are meant to represent space over time. "In this exhibition," she writes, "I am using images of diamonds...and cast shadows to create a metaphor of the passage of time." Even aging sounds kind of sexy when you put it that way.



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