Arty Girl: Christy Puetz at Chandler Center for the Arts

The always whimsical, entertaining, and ridiculously meticulous Christy Puetz is showing her latest beaded artworks at Chandler Center for the Arts. The opening reception is Friday.

New Times snagged this artist for a Studio Visit a couple years ago and we're pleased to find out that she's still at it.

Puetz is known for her intricately hand-beaded artwork. She creates miniature creatures, flat-paneled scenes (her 2004 "Meat Quilt", a work that features a strip of bacon, a turkey leg and other cuts of meat laid out like an old patchwork quilt was unforgettable), beaded helmets and oven mitts.

For her most recent show, Puetz worked in a small scale and created tiny beaded creatures.

The colorful works range from imaginative characters whose origins are unknown to earthly animals decked out in colorful patterns. Often, Puetz used photos and illustrations of disease cells as the basis for her designs. "In a gentle way, I visually try to provoke people to be close to what I am fearful of. I am drawn to microbiology and cell structures, but am cautious of the serious consequences of contact with them," says Puetz.

Puetz's funky beaded sculptures may seem silly or gimmicky at first, but the artist laces each piece with heavier subject matter.

The show coincides with her ongoing "Foster Kindern Project". It started in 2003 as an expression of her opposition to the war in Iraq. She distributed small, beaded figures to close friends as representatives of war casualties. Participants were asked to name and care for the figures. They acted as every day reminders of the war - one that often feels very far away. Many people documented the exercise by writing stories or photographing time spent with the dolls.

To see "She is Filled with Secrets: The Beaded Artworks of Christy Puetz", head to the Chandler Center for the Arts  through Feb. 27 with free opening reception Friday, Jan. 22 from 7-9 p.m. at 250 N. Arizona Ave. in Chandler, 480-917-6859, www.chandlercenter.org. 

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