Visual Arts

5 Must-See First Friday Shows in Phoenix on August 1

First Friday heats up tonight with creative works going up all over the city. Here are our picks for shows you will not want to miss this Friday.

"Animal Party"

The latest exhibition at Modified Arts really does feel like a party at first glance, with all of the saturated colors and whimsical content; but don't be fooled, there's something more going on on here. Curated by Peter Bugg, "Animal Party" features the work of mixed media artist Alex Benson, painter Sasha Lewis, and sculptor Nathan Lewis (who was recently featured in our 100 Creatives series). The event description really hits the nail on the head: "all together, the work of these three artists will offer a mix of humor and despondency -- a sort of cheerful gloom."

See Also: "Antonio Berni: Juanito and Ramona" at Phoenix Art Museum Is a Lesson in Marginalized Narrative

In one sculptural work by Nathan Lewis, a figure smiles holding the severed head of his compatriot, whose body is crumpled on the ground; the piece is titled "BFFLOL." Art that can induce that kind of simultaneous horror and glee is definitely a worthwhile experience. For more information, visit the Facebook event page or modifiedarts.org.

"H2O"

Organized by Steve Weiss and Rafael Navarro, "H2O" was designed to function as a sort of art oasis at The Lodge during one of the warmest First Fridays we'll see all year. All of the artwork in the exhibition references water, our most precious resource, in some form or another. The show features an all-star line-up of 16 artists: Holly Anderson, Leslie Barton, Tato Caraveo, Yai Cecream, Colin Chillag, Sean Deckert, Bill Dambrova, Mikey Jackson, Ashley Macias, Abbey Messmer, Chris Miller, Rafael Navarro, Katharine Leigh Simpson, Marilyn Szabo, Artist Vladeo, and Steve Weiss. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

"Visiónes Y Niños"

La Muñeca (who was recently featured in our 100 Creatives series) is best known for her street art, but this month you can see what her pieces look like hanging on the walls of the Coe House gallery. This is her first solo exhibition, and although she has no formal art training, La Muñeca has plenty of experience creating stirring work. On the event page, she is quoted as saying, "my goal is to continue to develop my skills as a multi-medium artist, while placing an emphasis on art as a tool for social justice and bringing awareness to names and faces that shouldn't be forgotten." For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

"From Tigers to Honeybees"

Capture12 has only been open for a few months now at Eye Lounge, but the art exhibitions are rolling out already. This month, the newish space is hosting a solo show of photographs by Abigail Lynch (also recently featured in our 100 Creatives series). "From Tigers to Honeybees" is a series of photographs that address issues like gender constructs, societal iconography, and the humanized desert landscape. For more information on the artist and her work, visit www.abigailclynch.com.

Daniel Shepherd: Collage Artist from Sebastian Kleihs on Vimeo.

"an idea of why"

This month, Willo North features the collage work of Daniel Shepherd in "an idea of why." Shepherd's collages are simple but compelling. He gets his materials from a large personal collection of old books, magazines, and photographs. If there's one medium of art we don't see much of in Phoenix, it might be collage, so Shepherd's work is definitely work checking out. For more information, visit the Facebook event page or willonorth.com.

Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.

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Katrina Montgomery