Visual Arts

Here's the Coolest Art We Saw in Phoenix on March's First Friday

Is it possible to have too many good choices? Some people surely thought so during this month's First Friday, when art was on view at dozens of Phoenix venues. Getting to each and every one of them during the course of just a few hours was impossible, but that's not necessarily a bad thing — because several exhibitions you might have missed are still on view. So check out our favorites, and then go see for yourself.

Flora with flourish
Michael Afsa's work exhibited at Lotus Contemporary Art prompted reflection on the abundance of human-built environments even as natural environments face increased peril wrought by modern society's elevation of artificial over natural. 

Winged warrior
Gennaro Garcia's work exhibited at First Studio included this modern twist on mythological iconography in art. 

Birds of a feather
Gallery-goers at Eye Lounge watched a video projection of artist Ashley Czajkowski rocking an owl as if it were a baby, all the while surrounded by creatures trapped but meant to fly.

Purple mountain majesties
Photographs by Gerry Groeber exhibited at Drive-Thru Gallery reflected the endless array of line and color exuded by infinite variations of natural landscapes. 

Modern myth
Wayne Rainey photographs featured in monOrchid's Bokeh Gallery, all taken in London, captured the artist's modern interpretation of classic myths.

Force fields
Works by IdaKatherine Graver on view at her studio located near Bentley Gallery reveal the unique complexities of inner life and outer surroundings for the individuals and groups whose stories they tell. 

Denim desert
Artist Paige Poppe took the cactus image that's ubiquitous in art of the Southwest and gave it a new twist by setting it atop a denim canvas in works on view at Made Art Boutique

Fiberge egg
Kelly Church crafted a variation on the renowned Faberge egg first created for Russian imperialists, creating a work for an exhibition at 1Spot Gallery with black ash and copper that conjured images of Native American basketry and hand grenades used during hundreds of years of warfare.

Paper portrait
Irma Sanchez created a paper portrait of piñata-making technique for the "Mutant Piñata Show" at Chartreuse gallery, prompting gallery-goers to consider the detailed work involved in making the typically hollow, three-dimensional forms.

Hole in the head
Work exhibited at Abe Zucca Gallery (inside Bragg's Pie Factory) by Chela Chelinski, an artist who also goes by Isela Meraz, served to remind viewers that in the war between reason and passion, it's often the latter that triumphs. 

Body piercings
Works in Lauren Lee's latest solo exhibition at {9} The Gallery created a dreamy mix of fire with sky, but also featured this image of a female torso turned into dangerous terrain. 

Big appetite
The insatiable appetite evident in much of modern society was served-up in a super-sized portion by Katie Horvat as part of her M.F.A. thesis exhibition at ASU's Step Gallery

Creative constriction
Czr Prz joined fellow graffiti artists in transporting street art sensibility from outdoor to indoor canvas with this work exhibited at Sound & Color on Grand Avenue. 

Colorful personality
Works by Andrew King exhibited at Practical Art exude a vast array of emotions, prompting gallery-goers to consider the full range of human experience as well as the artist's use of line and color to capture and convey it.

Fashion fugue
Angel Castro, along with his company Halo Movement Collective, combined props with a poetic dance film for a group exhibition by VelNonArt, using dance and fashion to heighten awareness of the human body as an instrument for challenging societies and fueling change. 

Portrait of power
Work by Lucinda Yrene shown in conjunction with Mata Ruda's exhibition at The Hive coupled two images of strength and power — one a woman, the other a black panther — reminding viewers that the struggle for civil rights continues.

Digital deity
Nomas translated a classic religious image into the language of today's digital culture for an exhibition at Oasis on Grand, hinting at both the prevalence of human hypocrisy and the deep divide between the depth of spiritual concerns and the superficiality of digital encounters. 

Body image
Work by Marlys Kubicek exhibited at Five15 Arts calls on various images of the female form to heighten appreciation for the ever-evolving nature of societal expectations for women, and the ways it impacts body image.

Ripples of memory
David Kessler's acrylic on brushed aluminum works exhibited at Bentley Gallery evoked memories of time spent with nature, creating scenes made vibrant by the dynamic interplay of light the shadow.