Here's the Best Art We Saw in Metro Phoenix During December 2016

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Local artists delivered some real delights during December exhibitions in metro Phoenix. Cydnei Mallory explored stereotypes using hairnets. Bill Dambrova paired his bold paintings with giggle-inducing titles. And Jeff Slim launched a new photographic journey.  Here's a look at 10 of the best works we spotted during December, from artists working both in and beyond metro Phoenix.

Portrait of the Artist as a Delicate Flower
Bill Dambrova

For his “Resilient Bodies” exhibition at Chartreuse gallery, located in the Bragg’s Pie Factory building that also houses his Goat Heart Studio, Dambrova presented this and other works that “playfully ponder the balance of the delicate and the resilient within the biological systems of humans, animals, and plants.”

Unraveled Pink Secret
Sonja Kelliher-Combs

Raised in the northern Alaska community of Nome, Kelliher-Combs explores the “ongoing struggle for self-definition and identity in the Alaskan context” through mixed-media paintings and sculptures that incorporate both shared iconography and personal imagery. This work (intaglio, chine collé, wax, thread, and human hair) is featured in the "(Map)ing" exhibition that continues through May 20, 2017 at the ASU Art Museum.

Without Colors
Jeff Slim

Best known for colorful paintings and murals that explore the intersection of his own Navajo heritage with contemporary culture, Slim has recently embraced black and white photography. By painting his characteristic white lines onto human bodies, then photographing the figures, he creates works with an abstract feel that convey the energy of his Native people. These photographs are part of the “Third World Beings: A Prelude to Bilá Ashdlá” exhibit that continues through February 16, 2017 at the Appaloosa Library in Scottsdale.

Maricopa tap water
Geoffrey Bohm

For a recent solo exhibition “Trotting Through the Glue Factory” at the Hive, this Phoenix native presented several works exploring struggles that transpire on both a personal level and within societies and systems, prompting reflection on elements of the human landscape that are simultaneously beautiful and strange. This 2016 work is an acrylic painting on found canvas.

David Oklahoma

One of several artists featured in Tilt gallery's December exhibition titled “Who’s in the House,” Oklahoma creates large-scale paintings, often using printmaking tools such as ink and brayers. For this piece, and others, he layered colors before scraping parts away to create textural elements.

Read on for more great Phoenix-area artworks.
Cydnei Mallory

An interdisciplinary artist pursuing her MFA at Arizona State University, Mallory uses the body as a reference for exploring stereotypes regarding gender, sexuality, and class. This installation for the recent “TMI (Too Much Information)” exhibition at ASU’s Gallery 100 was created using hairnets, steel, motors, and Arduino microcontrollers – but she also works with other materials, including cast metals, rope, fabric, silicone, and hair.

Melissa Schulenberg

For this lithograph featured in the “Temporal Exchange” exhibition at the ASU School of Art in Tempe, Schulenberg incorporated imagery drawn from several periods of her own life, including her experience with surgery and healing. In her text panel written for this piece, Lizzy Tober notes that the central image was inspired by a found jawbone and other bones gifted to the artist, and that the artist’s color palette was influenced by travel in Japan.

Me Voyo o Me Quedó? (Should I Go or Should I Stay?)
Juan De Dios Mora

This piece was part of a recent exhibition at ASU's Step Gallery titled “Ni De Aquí Ni De Allá / Neither Here Nor There: Contemporary Mexican Printmaking on Both Sides of the Border.” The artist lives in Laredo, a border town in Texas, where he creates work meant to “bring people together with sentimental, satirical, sarcastic, and comical themes” that promote greater awareness of self within community and cultural context.

Deborah Block with Iguana
Marilyn Szabo

One of several Marilyn Szabo photographs featured in a recent solo exhibition titled “Life & Death Portraits” at monOrchid, this work reflects the artist’s ability to capture the defining characteristics and distinct personalities of her subjects, which she has honed during an art practice spanning several decades.

Three portraits
Eric Cox

For December’s “Collision” exhibition at the Icehouse, which also featured works by Joe Holdren and Eddie Sparr, Eric Cox presented a strong showing of both large- and small-scale works, including this trio of paintings. Additional artists have been added to the exhibition, which has been extended through January 6, 2017.

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