The downtown Phoenix gallery scene is often lauded as a place where you can discover fresh, young artists. But if you want them even younger and fresher, head to Tempe. In contrast to the established work shown at the university's museum, Arizona State's art department runs on-campus galleries that exhibit the thesis shows of graduating M.F.A. students and work by other relative newcomers.
Although catching the shows is a bit of a challenge due to their odd, often only weekday hours, it's worth it if you can manage a long lunch or daytime visit -- and nab a rare parking spot.
The exhibitions I've visited over the last year have all been very strong, especially those by students. Gretchen Schermerhorn (515 member), Nissa Kubly (now at Sette Gallery), and Emily Stewart (works in the current Shemer Art Center exhibit) all had great shows in the Harry Wood Gallery, recently.
Visit herbergercollege.asu.edu/calendar/directions for hours, parking and further information about all of ASU's galleries.
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Northlight Gallery focuses on photography and often features small group shows of out-of-state artists, like the current selection, "Water," featuring the work of photographers Steven Benson, David Taylor and William Wylie. There are not many opportunities in the Valley to see photos like Benson's series, taken on the Yangtze River in China just months before the release of dam waters covered the entire region and forced hundreds of residents to abandon their ancestral homes.
The Step Gallery, located in the transforming Tempe Center, is the latest addition to the "underground" ASU gallery scene. Upcoming shows include multimedia sculpture, woodwork and neon, but also include "Identical Otherness," featuring collotype prints (a 19th century photo process) by identical twins Melanie and Michelle Craven. And for those craving high-tech, the Institute for Studies in the Arts (ISA) shows in three venues on campus and seeks to "support creation . . . at the intersection of the arts and technology."
The Harry Wood Gallery is the heart of ASU's art spaces.
Upcoming shows offer promise. During the week of April 12th, Jeana Eve Klein will show her large fiber images of Welsh standing stones that serve as a metaphor for human relationships. Jane Mary Schmidt's 12 paintings reflecting a 360-degree view of Phoenix's Butler Park will be up the week of April 19th. Karen Fiorito's prints incorporating political propaganda and advertising will be there the week of April 26th.