Visual Arts

The Layered Look

One of the hottest trends going in the art world is for artists or groups of artists to work under a pseudonym. The phony name is a protest against commercialism in art, and it's also a heck of a good gimmick. Enter COAX, the nom de brush of a Phoenix artist who makes paper collages and paintings and leaves them around downtown, at the back doors of galleries or outside hip hangouts where they'll be found by some puzzled person. COAX has a feminist bent, as evidenced by at least one piece by the artist included in "Paper, Cut and Print," a group show of paper collages at the Trunk Space. In COAX's piece, a woman rendered in childlike simplicity, magazine clippings forming her flipped-up hair and the triangle skirt of her housedress, flies a kite. A plastic eye is glued on her face, giving the whole piece the effect of a kindergarten masterpiece until you notice the caption: "Women blink nearly twice as much as men." It's a pointed statement about how women still get the short end of the stick, delivered in a coy little piece of guerrilla art.

It's definitely worth the trip to the Trunk Space to see COAX; once there, you'll find other collages worthy of a look, too.

Emily Weddle shows signs of a spacious talent in a series of collages in which she surrounds spoons with sheets of printed text from a book. She's making a point about how the information on the pages is shoveled into your brain. In the best of the three, the pages of an accounting textbook surround a spoon mounted on a scrap of paper torn from an old ledger and covered with columns of handwritten numbers. "Blah blah blah" reads a piece of paper attached to the spoon. It'll make math-haters giggle.

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Leanne Potts