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Arty Girl: Layla Luna at Practical Art this Friday

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Well, we're coming in at mid-week here and I say it's time to start talking about all the shows that will open this Friday.

Wait, is that sentence grammatically correct? I'm unsure. Where's that Grammar101 guy? I could really use another five paragraphs in the comments that explain my writing mistakes and question my integrity.

Anyway, being that this Friday is the first Friday of the month, there's just a whole ton of stuff to see. And while you can expect an upcoming blog that covers the goods on Roosevelt Row, today I want to talk about "Aviary: New Works by Layla Luna" at Practical Art.

Layla Luna just received her BFA in painting from ASU last year. In this series, she aims to explore the relationship between subject and environment. Her subjects, of course, are birds. And, since the show is called "Aviary," Luna allows us to walk into the exhibition with a visual environment already in mind. These are not birds in cages with their wings clipped. No, these birds live in large areas and are free to fly long as they stay within the boundaries of the aviary, of course.

White Canary (pictured above) is a delicate painting of a small bird who looks a little agitated. Its eyes are wild and its beak is open as if it's in the middle of a chase. There's a lot of action here, but the energy is cut by a background of vintage wallpaper. We suddenly wonder, "Where is this bird?" Here, Luna pairs the wild-eyed, action-packed canary with what she calls the "epitome of domesticity."

Luna purposefully keeps her images simple to focus on that subject/environment relationship. She also wants each viewer to define the image in personal terms.

With that in mind: here's an energetic and adventurous creature that is completely surrounded by traditional domesticity...hmmm...maybe I don't want to have babies after all...

"Aviary: New Works by Layla Luna" opens Friday August 7th at 7 p.m. with a free artist's reception at Practical Art, 5070 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix, 602-264-1414,

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