Viewing the works of big-time Southwest painter Merrill Mahaffey, you'd never suspect that "things God made are harder to draw than things man made," as a teacher once told us. Mahaffey's discipline applies fractal modernism to the wonders of nature. Somehow, in Mahaffey's landscapes, the sun looks brighter but also gentler, and the relentless laws of perspective contain his subjects -- frequently some combo of cliffs, sky, and water -- and glorify them at the same time.

See 35 of his canvases up-close and personal through October 30 in the "Merrill Mahaffey -- The Artist’s Perspective: 50 Years in the West" exhibit at Chandler Center for the Arts.

Mondays-Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 11. Continues through Oct. 30, 2010