Fausto Fernandez at The Latin American Art Gallery: We all need a little instruction something to give us direction and guidance. Without it, wed be flailing aimlessly in this life, accidentally screwing each other over in a nonsensical world of no consequence. Fausto Fernandez taps into the need for rules by using maps, blueprints, and sewing patterns in his paintings. He takes three intricately drawn images, cuts them into strips and lays them in an alternating pattern as the backdrop. In the foreground, he paints bold geometric patterns in bright colors. In his first major solo exhibition, the works are attractive. Unfortunately, however, that simple description can be applied to each of his paintings in the show. While each piece is somewhat compelling on its own, they become repetitive when seen together. Still, Fernandez creates images with enough thought and visual appeal to make a visit worthy. Admission is free. Through August 11, 7610 East McDonald Ste. C., Scottsdale. Open Tuesday to Satursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 480-571-8474 or visit www.thelatinamericanartgallery.com.
"4th Annual Mail Art Show" at The Trunk Space: These days, receiving anything worthwhile through snail mail is a novelty. But theres a little art fad going on that is bringing mail back, baby, and Trunk Space has tapped into it. This show invited, via the Internet, artists from all over the globe to submit art pieces. Here, works from cities in the U.S. as well as a couple from as far away as Japan and France are displayed. The pieces range from simple postcards (one with text that says, Your father is coming to see us! Aww . . . shit.) to more unexpected works, including a plastic envelope filled with sliced carrots, steamy and rotting. The anonymous works are for sale for around five bucks a pop and proceeds will be handed over to charity. Admission is free. Through August 8. 1506 Grand Ave. Call 602-256-6006 or visit www.thetrunkspace.com.
"Automotivated" at the Phoenix Art Museum, Fashion Design Gallery: If the cars in PAMs Curves of Steel show were enough to get you revved up, check out the fashion gallery for more aerodynamic designs. The dresses on display are sleek, shimmering silks and satins from the 1930s fabrics that cling to a smooth, streamlined shape. The automotive influence is most obvious in Jeanne Lanvins 1931 Wedding Dress, which is constructed with visible geometric panels of fabric, much like the welded plates of a cars body. Whoever wore this dress down the aisle was cutting carbs and hitting the gym (or its 1931 equivalent) because she had to be svelte to pull this one off. The show definitely couldve skipped the scary underwear display that includes faded, old, elastic body suits. Theyre interesting from a technical perspective, but fat-sucker suits on mannequins? Eeew. Despite the minor panty problems, the show has plenty more beautiful gowns sure to get your motor running. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $4 for children, free to all on Tuesday evenings. Through September 2. 1625 N. Central Ave, Phoenix. (602) 257-1222, www.phxart.org.
Fausto Fernandez at The Latin American Art Gallery, "4th Annual Mail Art Show", "Automotivated", "Life in a Cold Place: Arctic Art from the Albrecht Collection" and "Draw Me a Picture"
"Life in a Cold Place: Arctic Art from the Albrecht Collection" at the Heard Museum: The humble aesthetic of Grandma Moses the self-taught early-20th-century folk artist is beloved because it serves as a simple reminder of quaint, rural life in America, rich with homey traditions and collective practices of survival. This show offers a similar glimpse into the lives of the Inuit people in the Arctic regions of Siberia, coastal Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Kayakers Reflection by Kananginak Pootoogook is a beautiful stone-cut print a straightforward design with stunning use of bold colors. The two-dimensional masses of printed ink tell a quick visual story of everyday life among the Inuit. A man paddling his kayak notes the practices of transportation along Arctic coastlines and waterways. Like a psychological inkblot test, the form offers several interpretations. If viewed vertically, the shapes reveal the silhouette of an Arctic hunter, exposing a force of duality within the image. The show ranges from that compelling work to less-impressive renderings limited to immature and childlike skill levels. Overall, the exhibition is worth a visit and will fill a hankering for the mystery and intrigue that pervades outsider art. Admission is $10; seniors $9; $5 for students with valid ID; children 6 to 12, $3; under 5 free. Through July 31. 2301 N. Central Ave. Call 602-252-8848 or visit www.heard.org.
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"Draw Me a Picture" at the Heard Museum: Steven Yazzie the It Boy of the local art scene has a show at a major museum. Too bad its not a show of the work weve grown accustomed to from him, amazing paintings that showcase his true talent. Yazzie took a risk with Draw Me a Picture, so named because he drew pictures while driving a cart. The result? Um, dont drive and draw. Admission is $10; seniors $9; $5 for students with valid ID; children 6 to 12, $3; under 5 free. Through September 2. 2301 N. Central Ave. Call 602-252-8848 or visit www.heard.org.