Visual Arts

Legend Has It . . .

The Arizona Print Group and Writers Bloc team up for "Urban Legends," an exhibition of prose, poetry and prints about those apocryphal stories that float around the culture and illuminate our fears by their very silliness. You know the ones: poisoned ATM deposit envelopes, the escaped serial killer with a hook for a hand, worms in sushi that eat your brain.

The show, which pairs poems and prose with images, is a mixed bag. Kathryn Polk's relief print Non-Indigenous Woman is the best of the bunch. It seems to be about the belief that Phoenix is haunted by the ghosts of the Hohokam, the now-vanished people who thrived in the Salt River Valley centuries before Midwesterners in climatic denial came and built tract houses and golf courses. A white woman in a shirtdress stands in a desert wilderness, bent backwards at an impossible angle. Awkward and out of place in this sun-baked terrain, she looks a bit frightened, the way some people look when they realize they've made a wrong turn and ended up in south Phoenix. Behind her, a shadow in the shape of a primitive human form looms on the ground. It's a ghost of the last people who lived here, and a reminder that we, too, may become a future generation's urban legend. Polk's image, rendered in stark black lines, shows why urban myths are so pervasive: There's a bit of truth in those tall tales.