First Friday in Phoenix: Five Must-See Shows August 2

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

"Generations: Inspiration of Bird City" @ Willo North Gallery Phoenix native and Chicago-based artist Joseph "Sentrock" Perez cannot contain his excitement when he talks about what's going down this month.

"Willo North Gallery is going to host a ridiculous art show with Luis Gutierrez, Martin Moreno[, and me]," he says, adding that he's been inspired by both of the nationally recognized artists since he was in grade school. "So for me to show with them as peers is a great feeling."

See also: New Times Calendar of Events

"Generations: Inspiration of Bird City" collects works from the artists, showcasing three generations of Latino art in and often inspired by Phoenix (though with Gutierrez living in the Bay Area, Moreno is the only current Arizona resident).

See the impact the artists have had on each other and how the city has influenced their collected works when the exhibition opens at 7 p.m. today at 2811 North Seventh Avenue. A Third Friday reception will feature appearances from the artistic trio. Admission is free. Visit www.willonorth.com or call 602-448-9041. -- Becky Bartkowski

"Iron Interpretation" @ Practical Art Call us metalheads, but from big-name acts like steel and iron to copper and aluminum, we enjoy artists that bring the heat and break the mold.

Artist Kevin Hummelgard uses high-heat processes to bend, break, and transform rigid iron into something completely new. In his first solo show, "Iron Interpretation," Hummelgard takes a closer look into the properties of this hard metal and delivers his own interpretation, a juxtaposition of jagged yet graceful, rugged yet refined.

Check out the opening reception to view the new series, meet with the artist, and shop Practical Art's wide selection of 100 percent locally made artisan goods.

"Iron Interpretation" is open through August 31 at Practical Art, 5070 North Central Avenue. An artist reception takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. First Friday, August 2. Admission is free. Call 602-264-1414 or visit www.practical-art.com. -- Katie Johnson

"What Are We Doing Here?" @ Modified Arts If you really think about it, the fact that so many of us are able to live and thrive in the desert is pretty counter-intuitive -- if not completely insane. At some point or another, we've all wondered what in the world we are doing here.

In a group exhibition at Modified Arts, five local photographers grapple with this very question in an attempt to explore the pervasive desire to connect with the sometimes hostile environment. Curated by William LeGoullon, "What Are We Doing Here?" was conceived as a means of interrogating our collective definition of this place we call home: the desert. Read more... -- Katrina Montgomery

"Arizona's First Haboob Group Show" @ Drive-Thru Gallery Haboobs are inspiring. From bad jokes to creative endeavors, the dust storms cover a whole lot of ground. Four Arizona photographers will present a selection of haboob images from 7 to 10 p.m. today at Drive-Thru Gallery. The show collects superior storm shots from the past three year.

"Crossed Paths" @ Eye Lounge Alexandra Bowers' heart is in wood. The artist works with the medium, burning it, to convey the friction between natural elements and urban sprawl. On panels she reveals plant specimen, topographic lines, and animal skulls.

"I am continually fascinated, yet saddened by the resiliency native plants and animals are forced to demonstrate in order to live within the altered landscape we have developed around them," Bowers writes. "By observing the connections between the areas I associate with my own home and the homes of what naturally grew before it, I am concentrating on specimens and the places where our paths cross."

The products of her observation and expression are currently on view in the aptly titled exhibition "Crossed Paths." See it from 5 to 9 p.m. at Eye Lounge, 419 East Roosevelt Street. The free show remains on view in the west gallery through August 11. See www.eyelounge.com or call 602-430-1390. -- Becky Bartkowski

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