Arty Girl: John Battenberg at West Valley Art Museum

By John Battenberg

If you're a religious reader of the Night & Day section of the Phoenix New Times - and, my God, why wouldn't you be? - you've probably already heard about Michael Dixon's show, "Sambo Scatches His Navel and Watches His Crazy Sister" at West Valley Art Museum.

With a title like that, it's really no wonder Dixon has already received some press.

But I want to talk about an accompanying show at WVAM by John Battenberg called, "Critters - The Phoenix Years".

By John Battenberg

WVAM has impressed me in the past and, judging by these images, I'm willing to bet that Battenberg will not disappoint. The artist takes his career seriously and it's claimed that his mission is a "devotion to relevancy for his entire career". That's no easy feat. But having worked as a teacher for twenty years at San Jose College and being collected by prominent collectors world-wide, Battenberg may have achieved his goal.

This exhibition shows off his latest work that includes paintings and sculptures of animals. Be warned, the guy's into wolves...howling wolves...a motif we're all sick of. But Battenburg really captures the action and spirit of the animal through its gesture. Just look at these guys here. You can almost feel their predatory energy.

By John Battenberg

-- Lilia Menconi

"John Battenberg: Critters - The Phoenix Years" is open through February 22, 2009 at West Valley Art Museum, 17420 N. Avenue of the Arts in Surprise, AZ. Call 623-972-0635 or visit www.wvam.org.

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