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10 Best Artworks We Saw in Metro Phoenix During May 2016

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May's best artworks included photography, sculpture, painting, and video shown at art venues in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, and Gilbert. Several were created by artists working right here in the Valley.

Even as one gallery showed works by Iranian artists, another showed works by an Israeli-born American artist. One artist explored the objects carried by migrants and smugglers crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, while another examined the human impulse to control yet preserve the wild. 

The Gateless Gate
Carrie Marill

Color and pattern do a visual dance that's at once spontaneous and structured in this 2016 acrylic-on-linen triptych by Phoenix artist Carrie Marill. It's one of many Marill pieces being exhibited, along with works by Kim Cridler, at Lisa Sette Gallery through June 25.

Silence of the Trees
A O Tucker

Fine art photographers A O Tucker and Connie Tucker (they're husband and wife) have traveled Arizona taking the photographs of plants, animals, and landscapes featured in the recent "A Photographic Journey" exhibition at the Herberger Theater Art Gallery.

Floating in a Peculiar Way and Chant of Ever Circling Skeletal Family
Jeff Slim

Works by Phoenix artist Jeff Slim recently featured in the "Bilá Ashdlá' (Five Fingered People)" exhibition at monOrchid's Shade Gallery explore traditional and contemporary Navajo culture. Often, Slim uses himself as the subject and incorporates his favorite pop-culture icons.

Miss Palmer (after John Singer Sargent)
El Mac

Several works by Los Angeles-based artist Miles "Mac" MacGregor that are featured in the "El Mac: Aerosol Exalted" exhibition at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum reflect his interest in art history. That interest was fueled in part by childhood trips to the Phoenix Art Museum while growing up in the Valley. Today, he's an internationally renowned street artist also skilled in fine art.

The City is My Clothes
2Niks Pictures

Iranian artist Masoud Nikdel and filmmaker Ehsan Nikbakht create performance-based art critiquing contemporary culture. Recently, Tilt Gallery showed two of their videos, including one in which Nikdel sits covered in mud amid passing crowds of people, and another in which he collects others' discarded cigarette butts and places them in the transparent exterior lining of a suit he's wearing as part of an exhibition titled "(Un)certainty."

Honor Remains
"CC" Carrie Sage Curley

Using straightforward imagery and text, along with recycled paper and colors associated with American culture, artist "CC" Carrie Sage Curley's piece explores the social justice implications of land use in the "Reverberate Her Lines" exhibition at The Hive Art Gallery, which includes works by several women graffiti artists.

Dame tus Cansados tus Pobres
Tom Kiefer

Tom Kiefer, whose work is exhibited at Art Intersection's Gallery 4, has collected, arranged, and photographed belongings of migrants and smugglers apprehended by U.S. officials near the Arizona/Mexico border for his "El Sueno Americano" project, which includes this work that translates a sonnet on the Statue of Liberty into Spanish using letters from dry alphabet soup.

Yoram Wolberger

Works by Israeli-born American artist Yoram Wolberger, including this 36-piece resin cast work featured in the "Off the Wall" exhibition at Bentley Gallery, often depict childhood toys or everyday objects. Here, his use of multiples and choice of colors prompts reflection on the prevalence of guns and the polarization of politics in American culture.

Cultivating the Wild
Jennyfer Stratman

Through a new body of work that includes this bronze installation on view at Calvin Charles Gallery in Scottsdale, the artist explores humanity's desire to both control nature and preserve the wild. And thereby, she addresses the nature of the human psyche while considering man's relationship to the natural world.

Blue Picasso
Raúl Eduardo Stolkiner

This lambda print, which is part of the private collection of Lisa Sette and Peter Shikany, was featured in the recent "Phoenix Rising: The Valley Collects" exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, which also included works by Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, and Edgar Degas.

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