As an artist who's been kicking around the Phoenix art scene for more than 20 years, Stephen Michael Barnes has had his fill of noisy Art Detours. "I've been to art exhibitions where there's a lot of wine and cheese and crowds, but you really can't see the art," he says, stepping outside to escape the clatter of the coffee grinder at Mama Java's Coffeehouse, 3619 East Indian School, where his "Dangerous Experiments" exhibition opens on Wednesday, August 10.
Barnes has gathered an eclectic mix of artsy friends, including cellist Karen Koger and violinist Judy Benson, poets Chris Burawa and Steve and Resa Ferreira, and singer-songwriter Anamieke, to perform while viewers take in his latest oils and watercolors in a free opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m.
Actually, Barnes is a big fan of silence, "that truest moment when we can perceive whatever the artwork has for us."
But he's savvy enough to know the Valley art crowd needs something for their ears, too. "That moment of silence is more what people go to church for."
Call 602-957-8808 or visit www.mamajavascoffeehouse.com. -- Jimmy Magahern
Lens Is More
Local photogs show off at exhibition
The folks at the Paper Heart, 750 Grand Avenue, are reminding everyone that photography is an essential part of the Phoenix art scene. The gallery's "All Photographic" art exhibition, premi'ring at 7 p.m. Friday, August 5, is now in its fourth year. This time out, not only will there be eight local artists, including Darren Burgett, Dayvid LeMmon, Natascha Payton and Ben Rolfe, but also South Carolina photographer Jennifer Laffoon's "Domestic Interiors" series. To make the night a complete event, quirky rockers Andrew Jackson Jihad and never-the-same-band-live Fatigo will perform. Plus, aerialist Matti Baine will be floating above the stage. Admission is free. Call 602-262-2020. The show runs through August 27. -- Chelsea Ide
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Filmmaker is down on the farm
If the pitchfork-wielding farmer in Grant Wood's iconic 1930 painting American Gothic looks guilty as sin, well, maybe he is. At least, that's the case made in photographer and filmmaker Carlos Batts' "provocative" horror flick American Gothic, which screens at 8 p.m. Saturday, August 6, at Perihelion Arts, 1500 Grand Avenue. Batts participates in a Q&A following the film. Admission is $7. Call 602-462-9120. -- Joe Watson
Art reaches for the sky
From the glimpses we get on the cable news networks, there isn't much of a skyline in Baghdad, Iraq. Then again, maybe it's all relative. Artist Jason Hugger would know best -- at least, among the local art community, having served in Iraq last year with the Arizona Army National Guard. Now that the Kalamazoo, Michigan, native is back home in the Valley (and recently married), he's devoting his time to his art, opening "Other Skylines," an exhibition of still-life images that "combine urban and natural elements to create beautiful and unusual landscapes," at Paulina Miller Studio Gallery, 817 North First Street, on First Friday, August 5, at 7 p.m. "Still life is a means to explore realms which exist on the edge of our perception," Hugger writes on his Web site, huggerstudio.com. And perception is a curious thing. The show continues through August 26. Call 602-307-9643. -- Joe Watson