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Think Pieces

Equine eloquence at SMoCA.
Kate Breakey

There's more than meets the eye in the thought-provoking artworks included in one of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's current exhibitions, "Quartet," a collection of works by four Arizona-based artists. Although their styles differ, these artists share an intimate role in the subtle revelation of nature's mysteries.

Kate Breakey's four huge canvases focus on startlingly realistic images of gleaming, well-groomed horses. But with the artist's unique use of media, a combination of large-scale photographic ink jet print, oil paint and colored pencil, the animals are hyper-real — some details blurred by the artist, others exaggerated, such as the mesmerizing gleam in the horses' eyes.

Enormous oil-on-canvas pieces, as well as a series of small charcoal-and-pastel drawings by artist Kyung-Lim Lee, appear to be vast, solid expanses of deep navy, snowy white or rich crimson, with large elemental circles and ellipses floating serenely above the dense color. But stare a bit longer and the shadowy nuances of the backgrounds gain depth, revealing several carefully blended hues.

Film, found objects, glass and steel are some of the components in Marie Navarre's work, which elegantly juxtaposes the earthy with the existential. Navarre layers pieces of maps, book pages and astronomy diagrams, creating panels and sculptures that allude to the contradictions and mysteries of the universe, but never fully explain them.

And finally, using resin as her signature medium, Mayme Kratz preserves the haunting beauty of delicate birds' nests and tiny eggs, seed pods and dead lizards. The objects Kratz selects for immortality seem to emerge from the translucent material, still partially obscured by the resin's murkiness.

It's the humbling process of discovery in the natural world that makes this show resonate. Every piece deserves a second look.


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