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

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There was a flurry of activity in the local arts scene during October 2016.

Phoenix Art Museum’s opening event for "Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic" drew more than 7,000 visitors on First Friday, and people got their first glimpse at the Found:RE hotel filled with works by more than two dozen local artists.

Two galleries, Lisa Sette Gallery and {9} The Gallery, announced that they’d be showing works by local artists during art fairs happening during Art Basel in Miami Beach.

Desert Viking revealed plans for its the Blocks of Roosevelt Row development, and the Five15 Arts collective displaced by that development shared its plans to show work at Phoenix Center for the Arts for much of 2017.

There was plenty of intriguing art, too. Here are 10 favorites we spotted at three museums, three ASU galleries, and four additional venues – located at a local college, community center, performing arts center, and gallery.

A Thought
Forrest Solis

This work by Forrest Solis was recently featured in the “Pessler – Schoebel – Solis” exhibition at the Eric Fischl Gallery on the Phoenix College campus, where works by a trio of ASU School of Art painting and drawing faculty members were on view. It’s part of Solis’ Lessons series, comprising paintings that blend nostalgic images from early-20th century-storybooks with contemporary figures and dark, complex messages.

Everything Falls into Place When It Collapses
Santiago Borja

Anchoring his current installation at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, this work by Mexican artist Santiago Borja explores the Western objectification of indigenous cultures. It’s a scaled replica of a structure likely built in 1350 by ancient Sonoran Desert people and covered by the federal government, six centuries later, with a modern metal roof. It’s on view through January 22, 2017.

Roses with Tulips in Vase
Mia Mulvey

One of 25 ceramic artists featured in the new “Cranbrook Ceramics +/- 25 Years” at ASU’s Ceramics Research Center, Mulvey earned her BFA at ASU before completing an MFA at the renowned Cranbrook Academy of Art. Mulvey’s work explores wonder experienced through the interplay of art with science, and ceramics with technology. The exhibition continues through January 28, 2017.

Umi #1
Beth Ames Swartz

For more than 40 years, Swartz has been creating works, often in series, that reflect her interests in spirituality and the natural world. This 1974 acrylic on paper piece is one of many featured in the retrospective exhibition “Tikkun Olam: Repairing the World,” which continues through January 21, 2017, at the Arizona Jewish Historical Society’s Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center.

Mugshot Study (Estudio de retrato policial)
Kehinde Wiley

One of 60 pieces featured in the mid-career retrospective “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic” organized by Brooklyn Museum, this 2006 work was inspired by a police mug shot the artist found crumpled on the ground in Harlem. The exhibition, which includes paintings, sculpture, and stained glass exploring “race, gender, and the politics of representation” continues through January 8, 2017, at Phoenix Art Museum.

cross roads
Samantha Fresquez

During the 16th annual “ABBA: A-Buncha-Book-Artists” exhibition at ASU’s Harry Wood Gallery, Samantha Fresquez showed this video exploring “the intersection between the queer community and the Catholic Church,” which features one woman writing passages from the Bible on another woman’s back as a way of showing that “sexuality and religion are not mutually exclusive.”

J.W. Fike

The beauty of botanicals, complete with roots typically hidden but essential to growth, was revealed in the recent “Photographic Survey of the Wild Edible Botanicals of Arizona” exhibition at monOrchid’s Bokeh Gallery. This is one of many featured works meant to prompt reflection on “philosophical, spiritual, and ecological truths.”

Il Regalo (The Gift)
Kay WalkingStick

This 1998 work, created with oil on wood panel with lead ground, is part of a retrospective exhibition titled “Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist,” which includes works in multiple media spanning more than four decades. It originated at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and is on view through January 8, 2017 at the Heard Museum.

Lily Reeves

For a recent exhibition at ASU’s Step Gallery titled “The Thinning of the Veil,” artists Jace Becker and Lily Reeves used photography, projections, and sculpture to explore “existential polarities” such as the sacred and profane, and creation and destruction. Reeves’ works included this three-channel video created with silk and water, which features undecipherable images related to water and water pollution. It's part of her larger body of work exploring what it means to be alive.

Eric Boos

One of three ceramic bowls visitors see when first entering the Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts, this piece is part of Eric Boos’ Almost Edible Ceramics series – which reflects his passion for “juicy colors, voluptuous forms, and sensuous surfaces that invite touching.” It’s part of the “TCA Juried Biennial: Clay” exhibition that continues through December 31.

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