Visual Arts

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

As a new academic year got underway for ASU, the impact of ASU's School of Art on the local arts scene was on full display — in galleries located not only on the Tempe campus, but in other arts spaces around metro Phoenix.

Here's a look at ten of the best art works we spotted this month, which includes a strong showing by ASU students and alumni, but also works by several additional artists — including artists working in California and New York. 

Sugar Tree
Michael Marlowe

It’s been more than two decades since Michael Marlowe earned his MFA in set direction for theater from Arizona State University, but it’s clear he still has a flair for the dramatic – creating works of art that blend botanicals with the biological, often giving nods to what he calls “the naughty bits” of human anatomy. This oil and charcoal on paper piece is featured in the “Hello!” exhibition, spotlighting seven artists newly represented by Bentley Gallery, which continues through October 15.

Amphora: Axis Mundi, Amphora: Night Sky
Adam Shiverdecker

California artist Adam Shiverdecker creates ceramic works that explore his “ambivalence to icons of military might.” Often these works reference historical Greek vessels, which represent for the artist a culture that venerates war and conflict, even as it foreshadows aspects of “our own bellicose culture.” Both works were featured in the recent “Prime Ceramics” exhibition curated by Heather Couch for ASU’s Harry Wood Gallery.

Together With Ourselves
Sky Black

Born in Flagstaff, California artist Sky Black creates paintings that mix nostalgia with adventure — using classical and Old World themes and techniques, and the odd coupling of animate and inanimate objects to address enigmatic themes prevalent in contemporary culture. This work was part of the recent “Our Other Selves/Sky Black” exhibition at {9} The Gallery.

Ronna Nemitz

Ronna Nemitz, who holds an MFA from ASU, created this installation using found and made objects including a travel trunk, sculpture, piano rolls, braille paper, scissors, and string. The work, which references her aging parents’ frailty, explores the way time has both changed their purpose and shifted the artist’s own perceptions. The installation is featured in the “Biennial Art Faculty & Staff Exhibition” that continues through October 7 at the MCC Art Gallery at Mesa Community College.

Erasure 1, Erasure 2
Ana Teresa Fernandez

These hyperrealist oil paintings by San Francisco artist Ana Teresa Fernendez are part of a larger body of work titled Erasure, which is rooted in a performance referencing the 2014 disappearance of 43 young male students who’d staged a protest in their small town of Ayotzinapa, Mexico. Like much of Fernandez’s work, these paintings prompt reflection on social injustice while honoring those who fight against it. Several of her Erasure works are featured in the “Energy Charge: Connecting to Ana Mendieta,” which continues through December 31 at ASU Art Museum.

Sides of Self
Tovah Goldfine

Tovah Goldfine, a Scottsdale native who earned her BFA in printmaking from ASU this spring, is inspired by “color, pattern, and the emotional impact of personal experiences.” Through her art, Goldfine seeks to impact others by sharing ways she interprets her own existence. This trio of prints is part of the “Parables of the Virtual” exhibition that continues through October 28 at Fine Art Complex 1101 in Tempe.

Fashion Statement
Béatrice Coron

Born in France, New York City artist Béatrice Coron creates narratives using paper cutting – typically working with a single sheet of a material called Tyvek. Her current body of work includes several book forms and pieces inspired by works of literature. This piece is featured in her solo exhibition “Worldwide Wanderings: Béatrice Coron,” which continues through November 27 at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.

Bean Multiples
Connor McNerney

Beans are prevalent in sculptures created by Connor McNerney, an artist mindful of their likeness to the human embryonic form and their role in sustaining the world’s population. For the artist, these works are “a metaphor for the earth, the womb, and life.” By using diverse materials from concrete to steel, the artist explores the earth, healing, mankind, birth, and death. This work was featured in the recent “Threshold” exhibition of BFA sculpture student works at ASU’s Gallery 100.

Pain Tree
Daniel Martin Diaz

Tucson artist Daniel Martin Diaz spent two years creating ten large drawings based on John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost. Each work features imagery drawn from diverse sources such as Byzantine iconography, ephemera, alchemy, scientific diagrams, and 16th century anatomical drawings. Pain Tree is part of his solo “Paradise Lost: Daniel Martin Diaz” exhibition that continues through January 15 at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.

Kari Wehrs

Tempe artist Kari Wehrs, an MFA in photography student at ASU, has created several untitled works for her Shot series, which includes these tintypes referencing Civil War-era photography. These works feature portraits created at target shooting sites in the Arizona desert, which her photographic subjects used as shooting targets. These tintypes were part of her recent solo exhibition "Shot" presented by Rhetorical Galleries in the phICA shipping container galleries in Roosevelt Row.

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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble