Visual Arts

Best 2018 Art Shows in Metro Phoenix — So Far

Monica Aissa Martinez
Detail of Monica Aissa Martinez's portrait of her father.
“Nothing in Stasis”
UA College of Medicine – Phoenix
December 2017 to March 2018
Artist Monica Aissa Martinez presented dozens of elaborate drawings revealing the delicate intricacies of human anatomy, prompting reflection on both shared humanity and each individual’s uniqueness. Most striking were a pair of full-body portraits of the artist’s aging parents, set within imagery reflecting their personal histories and identities.

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Still shot of a video featured in Ashley Czajkowski's "Renascent" exhibit.
Ashley Czajkowski
Artlink Pop-Up in Roosevelt Row
February 1-2, 16
Artist Ashley Czajkowski explored themes of domesticity and wildness by filming ritual bathing and skinning of a coyote she found dead beside an urban roadway. By projecting her images onto a house constructed of cloth, the artist poignantly questioned assumptions about the relationships between nature and culture.

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Claudio Dicochea, de la Agente Federal y el Rojo, la Emperatriz (of Federal Agent and Red, the Empress), 2010. Acrylic, graphite, charcoal, transfer, wood, 2 panels: 48 x 36 inches.
Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Sette Gallery
“SouthwestNET: Acid Baroque”
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
February 10-May 20
Mexican-American painter Claudio Dicochea transformed a gallery at SMoCA into a compelling indictment of colonialism, complete with hanging chandelier that shattered a symbol of opulence with the forms of human bones. Featured mixed-media works used pop culture and historical imagery to question assumptions about race, national identity, and other touchpoints at the heart of contemporary culture.

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Work featured in Bill Dambrova's solo exhibition at Eric Fischl Gallery.
Bill Dambrova
“Energy Eaters”
Eric Fischl Gallery
February 19-March 22
Playing with the energies that intersect within and between human bodies, artist Bill Dambrova created abstract paintings and mixed media works that mirror the complexity of the human condition. Dambrova’s work prompts viewers to consider the ways bodies exist in cultural and historic contexts, but also elevates the role of humor in navigating emotional landscapes.

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The "Saber Acomodar" exhibit at ASU Art Museum included Jorge Pardo's Untitled work from 2014.
Courtesy of the artist and Cerámica Suro.
“Saber Acomodar”
ASU Art Museum
March 17-June 30
With works by more than two dozen artists based in the state of Jalisco in Mexico, this exhibition rides the full wave between hope and despair, using traditional techniques and materials that punctuate the power of artisans to plummet the full depths of human existence, without hiding from its stark truths or veiling its scarred beauty.

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Finale, 2013. Antique table, 151 antique glasses, 5 pitchers, 3 decanters, liquor and mirror. The Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, Miami.
Oriol Tarridas.
“Any Moment Now”
Phoenix Art Museum
March 24-July 15
Using primarily collections of found or created objects that reference the profound mystery at play in everyday life, Brazilian-born artist Valeska Soares explores expansive concepts such as time, space, isolation, togetherness, love, and loss — in addition to personal and cultural histories. Her works engage all five senses, while heightening awareness of the magical space that moves between them.

Work featured in Rachel Bess' solo exhibit at Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum.
Courtesy of the artist and Lisa Sette Gallery
“Adventure and Control”
Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum
April 20-August 5
Through astute observation and meticulous painting that conjures the spirit of Italian Renaissance masters, Rachel Bess thoughtfully explores the tenuous, ever-shifting relationship between adventure and control in personal and global settings. Through painting her contemporaries, Bess punctuates their vulnerability and strengths, luring viewers to plumb the depths of their own inner lives.

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God Complex by Nicholas Galanin is part of his "Dear Listener" exhibit at Heard Museum.
Lynn Trimble
“Dear Listener”
Heard Museum
May 4-September 2
Nicholas Galanin, an Alaska-based artist with mixed Tlingit-Unangax and non-Native ancestry, worked with several collaborators to create illuminating pieces that punctuate the differences between indigenous and settler cultures. Using pop culture imagery and American iconography, Galanin deconstructs stereotypes of indigeneity and calls out purveyors of cultural appropriation.

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The Resemblance by Tami Bahat is part of "Circle/Squared" at Lisa Sette Gallery.
Lisa Sette Gallery
Lisa Sette Gallery
May 5-August 25
Gallerist Lisa Sette assembled works by several artists, which share not only circular forms, but also subject matter that pushes viewers to think beyond the boundaries of their own assumptions. At once history lesson and provocateur of reimagined futures, the exhibit soothes the eye with circularity even as it jars the spirit with hard truths about human tendencies toward egoism and cultural hubris.

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Denise Yaghmourian working on part of her "Objects of Memory" exhibit for Bentley Gallery.
Bentley Gallery
“Objects of Memory”
Bentley Gallery
May 26-July 14
After dipping dozens of objects with sentimental value in black paint, artist Denise Yaghmourian suspended them from the ceiling for an installation that conveys the impermanence of objects, memories, and those who make them. Paintings and sculptural objects that surround them invite viewers to ponder limitations of time and evolving internal landscapes.