"Connections to the Land" at Chandler Center for the Arts: First, a study of a pear. Next, an apple. Oh, no! What lurks around the corner? A breakfast still-life? Breathe a sigh of relief. Abstract landscapes inspired by the likes of Cezanne and Rothko make up the bulk of Ruth Knowles' solo exhibition. Her unique acrylic painting technique simulates the look of oil: dark and heavy, weighted by thick impasto and broad brushstrokes. Saffron and crimson squares struggle to break free from rivers of muted brown and black that cascade down the canvas like native tears. So what does it all mean? "A painting does not have to mean," Knowles comments beneath one work. "A painting just is." Ahhh . . . modernists. Admission is free. Through April 15. 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler, 480-782-2680, www.chandlercenter.org. -- W.H.
Carol Cassidy and the Laos Weavers: An expert for the United Nations weaving program, American Carol Cassidy blends the ancient tradition of weft ikat weaving with modern design innovations. The exhibit includes Cassidy's jewel-toned wall hangings as well as historical examples of headgear and clothing worn by Laotian women. Bands of vibrant pink elephants dance around the edge of one Lowland Lao sin (skirt) on display, while others have hidden Buddhist motifs representing karma and rebirth. Check out the centerpiece, a wooden loom used by the factory workers at Cassidy's Lao Textiles, and maybe next time someone waltzes into the room wearing a pashmina shawl, you'll appreciate the sweat and tears that went into its construction. Admission is $3.50. Through May 28. 1 East Main St., Mesa, 480-644-6501, www.mesaartscenter.com. -- W.H.
"Lingerie: Secrets of Elegance" at Phoenix Art Museum: Yep, you read that right. Bras, baby doll nighties, and a sunburst display of girdles are just a gallery over from the paintings of dead white guys in powdered wigs. This fascinating fashion exhibition traces lingerie's evolution (or maybe devolution) from corsets to thongs, and shows how technology, cultural ideals of beauty, and economics have shaped what women wear over their privates. Look at the torpedo bra from the early 1950s, with foam falsies in the tips of the cups to simulate erect nipples, and you'll understand exactly why the women's rights movement happened. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, free to all on Thursdays. Through April 9. 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-257-1222, www.phxart.org. -- L.P.
"Big City" at Phoenix Art Museum: There isn't a single image of the PHX among the cityscapes and urban life scenes drawn from PAMÕs permanent collection. That's odd, seeing as how we're the nation's fifth or sixth largest metropolis. The omission is partly because of the age of the work, the newest of which was made in the late 1970s when Phoenix was still a cow town on steroids. There are lots of classic Industrial Age images of skyscraper-chocked Eastern cities by masters like John Sloane and Reginald Marsh, but no Information Age images of upstart cities like Houston or Phoenix where all is horizontal. The portrait of the city is incomplete because it omits the past quarter-century, but "Big City" is still worth checking out. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, free to all on Thursdays. Through May 7. 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-257-1222, www.phxart.org. -- L.P.
"Sensual Pleasures" at the Herberger Gallery: Phoenix artist Jeanne Collins' installation Biopsy Banquet is the standout in this group show of predictable erotic-themed pieces. Her gleefully grotesque feast fit for Hannibal Lecter consists of ceramic entrees made from human organs. There's Stomach l'orange with Sliced Beets and Green Beans, Lungs with Shell Pasta, Spleen with Yellow Squash. Collins shows that our bodies, the source of sensuality, don't look different from the bodies of other animals -- especially when chopped into pieces and wrapped in a tortilla. It's as un-sexy as a cold shower. Admission is free. Through April 2. 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix, 602-254-7399, www.herbergertheater.org. -- L.P.