Stephen Strom, Celestial Siblings: Earth and Mars, March 1-26, 2014, Bokeh Gallery
Stephen Strom has spent most of his professional life as an astronomer looking mostly upward, searching the universe for patterns and with the hope of gaining some understanding of how the stars, our sun, and solar system came to be. He has also spent countless hours over the last four decades contemplating the desert underneath his feet. He was drawn to the changing patterns of the continuously sculpted landscape and the millennial forces that created the vast number of shapes and colors.
As a response to his examination of the patterns of earthbound forces and his exposure to extraterrestrial landscape images, he created this series on view in Bokeh Gallery March 1-30, 2014. The images represent thirty years of the artist’s personal exploration of the American landscape paired with photographs produced by Martian orbiters, rovers, and landers that NASA sent to Mars and its European counterpart, ESA over the past decades.
Stephen was drawn to the commonality of the emotional response and the patterns manifested in the images, created by similar processes. He states, “That these patterns are manifest on vastly different scales on different planetary surfaces speaks to the profound beauty inherent in forms which result from the action of universal physical laws over time and space; the interaction of the elemental: fire, earth, water, and air .”
Those displayed here were chosen both for their aesthetic qualities and their value in illustrating the action of familiar physical processes on another world. Shade Projects Art Program Director and the curator for the exhibition was drawn to the accessibility of the imagery. “The images look as if they were all taken on Earth, which allow the viewer to relate, but upon finding out that many are from Mars it expands their ability to contemplate other planets and what they are like on the surface.”
APACHE X: 10 Years of Douglas Miles and Apache Skateboards - March 1-26, 2014 – Shade Gallery
The monOrchid and Shade Projects presented Douglas Miles and Apache Skateboards: A Retrospective for March 2014, including Art Detour 26. Douglas Miles is a Native American contemporary artist that lives and works on the San Carlos Apache-Akimel O’odham reservation. Many may recognize Douglas as the founder of Apache skateboards and the Apache Skate Team; he is a versatile artist working in a variety of media: painting, printmaking, photography, and street art. The exhibition aims to examine the work and progress that Miles has achieved over his 25 years of creating, exhibiting, celebrating his heritage, and reflecting on the realities of life on the reservation.
Inspired by his family and community, Miles blends together areas of his heritage, pop-culture, and fine art. Through his artwork, Apache skateboards, and “What Tribe Project,” Miles is able to give the viewer a better understanding of what it means to be a Native American artist. Miles is bringing attention to contemporary Native American art, which is not always embraced by traditional institutions while also questioning what fine art is in today’s market. The monOrchid’s Assistant Curator Nicole Royse is excited to bring this exhibition to the monOrchid and the community stating, “Douglas Miles is an inspiring individual, creating artwork that is both contemporary and meaningful. He uses his art to give a voice and to bring awareness to his community while focusing on empowering the youth through the arts and skate boarding.”
Emerson Speyerer Splash of Night, February 1 – 28, 2014, Bokeh Gallery
This photography exhibition explores the beauty of water at iconic sites at night around the world. Speyerer studied night photography under Lance Keimig at the New England School of Photography and applies his background in engineering to enhance the technical specifics of crafting his photographs. Speyerer uses long exposure photography so that each image expresses the location over a period of time instead of a static moment. Speyerer traverses the globe to photograph stunning water-filled landscapes relatively unseen places by many. The use of long exposure photography with an extremely sensitive digital camera transforms these bodies of water into a reflective surface. Simultaneously, the limited light of the night sky enables the artist to capture the incredible colors and motion of the scenes.
With each image the artist intends to push the envelope of his tools and experiment with long exposure photography while capturing the unseen world at night. Prepare to be transported around the world by the dazzling photography in “Splash of Night”.
Charmagne Coe, “Prelude”, February, 2014 Shade West
Charmagne Coe is a self-taught Arizona artist currently residing in Flagstaff where she creates artwork for exhibitions, private commissions, album artwork, and editorial illustration. Her work has been featured in international solo and group exhibitions as well as art journals, magazines, and websites.
Drawing was Charmagne’s first love. Six years ago, she began to experiment with new methods of expressing the contour line with other media. After trial and error, a wild relationship between watercolor, ink and pastel emerged, which fascinated and challenged her as an artist. Her direction began to echo the early surrealists who explored the unconscious as a source of artistic inspiration and creation. Her drawings became painted menageries. She is continually entranced by the juxtaposition of the three media and she still draws in ink daily.
Charmagne creates surreal paintings with watercolor, ink and pastel. In each work, characters and abstract atmospheres collide, entwine, and relate inseparably. Automatism and nature are her most important guides. Her artistic process is dependent upon staying completely receptive and vulnerable to where the creative psyche leads her. Memories of fairy tales, science fiction, and mythology reinvent themselves in many of her compositions—creating a timeless fusion of past, present and future. The works express themes of pathos, a quality that appeals to a viewer’s emotions, and transcendence, lying just beyond the ordinary range of perception.
April Morganroth “Desolation” January 3-31, 2014 – Bokeh Gallery
On June 28, 2013 the Yarnell Hill Fire ravaged a small town near Prescott in central Arizona gaining momentum and tragically claiming the lives of 19 firefighters, known as the “Granite Mountain Hotshots,” on June 30. This wildfire was significant, claiming the highest death toll in the United States since 1933. Ms. Morganroth is a Prescott native and personally knew several of the fallen men and their families. As one of the first journalists with access to the area of devastation she felt compelled and honored to document this grave tragedy for the sake of the heroes, their families, and for the community of Prescott.
The exhibition examines the desolation caused by the Yarnell Hill Fire through the objective photojournalistic, yet personal lens of Ms. Morganroth. The haunting photographs tell a tale of the immediate aftermath of the fire and its impact on the local community, Arizona, and the nation. These photographs bring a new light on the horrifying story while serving as a remembrance to those who have been lost continuing to be heard around the country. Ms. Morganroth’s powerful imagery was syndicated worldwide as the story unfolded about the last hours of these 19 brave souls lives.
The artist offers the intimate images for sale, part of the proceeds to benefit funds for the Granite Mountain Hotshots heroes’ families.
Holy Daze December 6, 2013 – January 10, 2014 – Shade Gallery
With the holiday season comes the blur of events, family, traditions, stress, travel…it can really put you in a daze! The artists included in Holy Daze reflect on their own personal connection to holidays, some religious, some patriotic, some magical, some made-up, but all revered and personal. Many of the works are memories of experiences with holidays past while some are social critiques about the current state of holiday meaning and celebrations. One truth is consistent all of the artists, and therefore all individuals; holidays affect each and every one of us and we have various views on them. On a broader scale, the exhibition explores the ways that holidays are celebrated in our society; the apparent disregard or total loss of meaning in the traditions, customization of the traditions, and the merging of iconography and celebration. One thing is for sure, this is not an exhibition of traditional holiday imagery, and some may find it blasphemous…
The exhibition features work by Scott Wolf, Jayme Blue, Jesse Perry, Valerie Hunt, Cherie Buck-Hutchinson, Randy Zucker, Joseph Podlesnik, Marte Crow, FX Tobin, Craig Cully, AJ Nafziger, Lisa Albinger, Fred Tieken, Patricia Turpin, Angie Zielinski, and Eric Kasper.
December 6, 2013- January 1, 2014 - Bokeh Gallery
Aaron Thomas Roth “Between Heaven and Earth”
Aaron Thomas Roth developed his aesthetic sense living in major artistic hubs most of his life. Born in Chicago, raised in Los Angeles and New York City, where he attended the esteemed School for Visual Arts. During his education he was mentored by Sam Martine and Joo Chung who inspired his love for collage and experimentation with various media. Aaron started his artistic career as an illustrator in New York City and has shown in galleries nationwide for 15 years, eventually moving to Tucson, AZ where he has lived and worked since 2009.
His current artwork incorporates digital collage, utilizing photographic and graphic images (some he creates, some he borrows) to develop fully ingrained images into heat transfer papers, much like iron-on materials. He literally melts the images onto either hot or cold press watercolor paper, which embeds the images into the foundation of the paper and ties his digital media to its tangible resting place. He often repeats the process multiple times with different amounts of heat and adding solvents or paints until he achieves the desired effect, texture, and colors.
Thematically, Aaron’s current body of work is primarily based on a surreal, dreamlike idea of figures trapped somewhere between, what he describes as, “heaven and earth… a limbo or purgatory.” The unsettling images use the suspension of movement to convey a moment in which the past and future remains a mystery. Aaron wants the viewer to be a participant in the story that his imagery tells, it is up to them to make judgment on the life and fate of the individuals portrayed. This aspect of the work also provides an entrance into an arena of introspection for the viewer to pause and contemplate their own actions, and the resulting future.
October 18 – November 30, 2013
Shade Gallery: Mark Lipczynski, “Where the Bodies Are Buried”
In March 2012 Arizona Highways magazine asked photographer Mark Lipczynski to embark on a journey documenting cemeteries in all 15 counties in the state for a feature story in the October 2012 issue. Lipczynski travelled 2,676 miles in six weeks through the dusty desert to capture the portfolio.
To view an introspective tour of images showing behind the scenes vignettes of Mark Lipczynski’s travels photographing the cemetaries visit this LINK
Bokeh Gallery : “Rotting the Barrel?”
The nonprofit organization Shade Projects, which manages the art exhibitions at the monOrchid, is all about bringing awareness to social issues through art. In May 2013 government reports and major media articles caused a debate over the corporate tax structure of Apple, Inc., and its legality under the current U.S. tax codes. For monOrchid owner Wayne Rainey and curator Justin Germain, the perfect idea for an exhibition about a serious and relevant social issue arose.
The exhibition examines the current rift between capitalism and patriotism. Artwork included in the exhibition will be based on artist’s research and opinion, using the example of the Apple’s recent headlines as a platform to explore ideas of fiscal patriotism, tax loopholes for big business, and the relationships between consumerism and international policy. The exhibition is more than images that explain a situation, it is a conversation starter. Germain states, “We meant to begin a discussion and encourage people to look beyond the surface of capitalism and into social issues that actually affect their daily lives.”
The multimedia exhibition features works by Jeff Davis, Zabet Pucket, Angel Cabrales, Wayne Rainey, Teresa Dendy, Fred Tieken, Randy Zucker, Craig Cheply, and Larry Willis.
September 6 – October 11, 2013
Fred Tieken “78 Years in the Fast Lane”
Artist Fred Tieken will celebrate his 78th birthday during the run of this exhibition focused on his life story, and therefore his art’s life story. The show features paintings that reflect specific life changing events in Fred’s life as well as manifestations of his past lives—as a rocker, music producer, graphic designer, and ad-man—speckled with examples of Fred’s keen social observations and witty commentary on modern life.
The exhibition’s focus is on how the imagery and style of the paintings relate to the long, adventurous, and special life Fred has lived. For many years he worked as a graphic designer, creating imagery for advertising according to clients’ wishes. After relocating to Arizona and later selling his design business Fred had some much deserved to travel and take on new projects, through which he was inspired to paint during trips to New York and examination of Basquiat’s work. Fred’s first painting “Pass the Mayo” was completed in late-2010 and chronicles the experience of his wife Gail donating one of her kidneys to him, of course with plenty of typical Fred Tieken humor and irony inserted. Since then, there has been no stopping Fred’s artistic journey. His artistic oeuvre breaks out from the tightly controlled graphic style of his past and takes on a wild, Basquiat-esque persona. Fred states that, “after a lifetime of staying within the lines […] I no longer worry about such things.” His signature style reflects his second chance at life, and the idea of loosening one’s grip on something that is out of control. As for his output, at 77 years old Fred is one of the most prolific young artists in the Phoenix art community.
Included in the exhibition is a new series of paintings titled “What Was Is,” created using the hard-edge graphic technique from Fred’s design days, very different than his loose, expressionist work. These images will be juxtaposed by the mixed media work “Art Imitates Art” that depicts a scaled down version of the “What Was Is” series displayed in an art gallery window surrounded by Fred’s imaginary outside world.
Sean Deckert “Fata Morgana”
Sean Deckert’s photographs intersect art and science, still and motion imagery, natural and manmade environments with a strong interest in how the work operates in the public sphere. Focusing on the urban landscape and human development unfolding in these spaces raises questions about what type of relationship civil society has with the natural world.
Sean’s latest work focuses on the aesthetic quality of atmospheric pollution and its relationship to the surface. He exposes Phoenix as a modern city torn between the beauty of the southwest and the imposed ecological changes to the natural environment. The term “fata morgana” is scientifically defined as a mirage, a complex illusion in which light bends at the horizon and heavily distorts the reflections of distant objects. This phenomena is rare, but occurs when multiple energy sources perfectly collide in the atmosphere. The term is traditionally attributed to sorcery, derives from an old Italian tale in which the illusion was frequently seen in the Strait of Messina and thought to be a spiritual force luring sailors to their death.
Fata Morgana includes single photographs and timelapse composites focused on harnessing time, color, and space, not only for the sake of their expressive potential, but to give their qualities agency in a greater social context. The integrity of earth’s atmosphere has undergone drastic shifts across the globe, attributed to the increase in human consumption and the imbalance between the natural and man-made world. These phenomena are indicative of an altered social perception of landscape, ownership, and a clashing of two forces. Phoenix, with its full-spectrum sunsets, extreme heat, and dust storms, experiences the results of this clash and provides a visualization of the results. Sean Deckert’s aesthetic interpretation of the place and phenomena creates a meditative entry point for the viewer to explore our cognitive relationship to the environment. A storm is not a single entity; it is a figurative collection of colors blended into the changing landscape—a gorgeous and grotesque palette of imagery colliding inside the subconscious of society.
June 7 – August 30, 2013
Summer Group Exhibition: Thermal PHX
The monOrchid art program’s main focus is to promote and expose the creativity of local artistic talent and continuously engage with the community.
Many galleries, especially in downtown Phoenix, close their doors for the summer. But what about those of us who actually live here year round and take on the temperatures that approach 120 degrees, what if we want to do more than just sit at home in our air conditioning?! We still need something to do that is interesting and entertaining and gets us out of the house so we don’t go stir crazy, right?!
Heat causes air to rise, which is essential in engineless flight. Have you ever seen a bird swirling in the the sky and then climbing without even moving its wings? Birds find these pockets of hot air and ride them, they give them upward propulsion without exhausting any energy. They are also the main motor for kites or hang gliders–hot air balloons create their own heat with a torch. These natural pockets of heated air are called thermal columns or thermals.
The title of the exhibition is meant to define the purpose of itself: to serve as a proactive use of the hot summer in Phoenix to provide extended exposure to artists–new and seasoned–and give us residents the opportunity to engage with our local (AZ) culture during the summer.
“The title for this exhibition comes from my memories of learning from my parents, both hanglider pilots, about how to fly using heat pockets, or “thermals” that rise from the desert floor to take a kite or bird higher into the sky. The concept is much like that of a hot air balloon; heat rises in thermal columns and any thing that can catch that movement can climb with it. This exhibition is meant to be a “thermal” for emerging local artists, to help them elevate their work by providing them an exhibition opportunity in a major art space during our long, hot summer here in Phoenix. It also serves the purpose of providing a space for people who actually live here year round to visit and get out of their home or office and enjoy a night of culture!” – Justin Germain, monOrchid curator
Featuring works by: Kevin Caron, Diane DiBernadino-Sanborn, Mary Bruns, Morgana Wallace, Jason Rusnock, Peter B Klein, Daniel Funkhouser, Sarah Kriehn, Sabrina Peros, Mano Sotelo, Lee Davis, Larry Willis, Josh Louchheim, Jeanna Voellmer, Jayme Blue, Jason Hugger, Jon Jenkins, Ivan Delvasto, Dan Pederson, Charmagne Coe, Anthony Vasquez, Cole Reed
“I did not intend to make May a month of artistic propaganda, it just fell into place. One of my passions is the interplay between art and politics and this month our exhibitions are layered with propaganda and critical dialogues about this relationship. We had the opportunity to mount these two exhibitions together to call on the public to take notice of very important issues. I have wanted to develop a political exhibition since completing my MA thesis, which focused on the US government’s appropriation of modern art in its anti-communist campaign in the 20th century. These shows focus on the power of art to cause awareness and critique our current social trends and the government funding of the arts and nonprofit social welfare organizations. – monOrchid curator, Justin Germain
Mila Strugatsky: Splinters of Civilization
Soviet born Mila Strugatsky, escaped the communist regime with her family in 1973 and studied art in Paris and New York. The artist’s travels and experiences created her cosmopolitan identity and universal perspective about the shared joys and pains of all people. Strugatsky’s awareness of the injustices experienced around the world is an obsession she continuously explores through her art and set the mood in her paintings. Her works are intricately detailed and rich in composition and color. Each painting combines a unique mixture of classical mythology, biblical themes, or memories from a tyrannical regime with contemporary techniques. The body of work on display at the monOrchid borrows from the shared memory and re-frames the past in contemporary settings that envision the future by critically exploring social issues of tyranny and oppression.
Strugatsy moved to Phoenix in late 2012 and brought her paintings completed on the east coast. When she first met the monOrchid curator Justion Germain she expressed that her previous work was “heavy and cold, much like Russia, or New Jersey.” She moved to the valley to explore a new environment and how it would affect her mentality, and her painting.
The exhibition will include a multimedia installation, which is a critical statement about Strugatsky’s view of the present state of public art funding and the political focus of the current US government. “Create not kill” is the artists sentiment for the work which will hopefully call attention to the appropriations of public funds to destructive programs instead of the arts. The show is accompanied by an installation by Ben Kern that further explores the lack of support and funding for arts organizations.
****Special Engagement May 14-17 in the monOrchid gallery****
C12 Collective: Social Conversations-Stigma!
Stigma! is a photo-documentary project organized by Capture 12 founder Stephen Gittins. Known as the C12 Collective, photographers Gittins, Emily Matyas, Alexandria D. Logue, Mike Williams, Jose Sosa, and Spencer Dutton takes a raw look at those affected by the efforts of local nonprofit organizations. Gittins states, “My curiosity caused me to look at my community further and after some research, it became apparent that there are quite a few organizations in Downtown Phoenix who are helping the vulnerable back into society.” The artist is no stranger to the struggles many of the project’s subjects due to his personal challenges through recovery and feels an immense connection to them and their plight.
The images in the exhibition draw attention to subjects who would normally be ignored due to the nature of its content. They also reflect the power of organizations who have a mission to help those considered as vulnerable. The collective exhibition tells the story of the people who suffer and those who fight to help them. Through the eyes of the diverse photographers the viewer experiences the hope that these organizations generate. The collective’s hope is that the visual imagery will cultivate awareness of charitable organizations in Downtown Phoenix that empower individuals in our community who are ostracized due to a lack of understanding of the various circumstances that alienate them from society.
Every Which Way: The eclectic art of Jon Arvizu. Arvizu has made his living for the past 15 years in the commercial art industry as an illustrative designer, with advertising clients the likes of the NFL, Popular Science Magazine, Frito Lay, Dell Webb, Yum!, Proctor & Gamble, Dole, and Oregano’s Pizza Bistro. Jon’s experience in graphic design heavily influences his artistic aesthetic; his work is highly graphic but the artist’s hand is evident in each one of his works through the abstract and painterly qualities that he creates by manipulating the materials manually.
Jon is preoccupied with ephemeral (throwaway) design and illustration of the golden age in advertising (1930s- 70′s). Much like walking through a thrift store, his work swings wildly in many directions drawing inspiration from high art history to low-brow and folk art. He states, “I want my art to be familiar, accessible, an immediate payoff for the viewer. It should speak to their gut, their past or present, something they can identify with.” Arvizu is intensely interested in learning and refining his knowledge of various production methods, and he experiements with the limits and purposes of the materials and processes. The exploration has amassed in a large volume of work that really does lead the visitor, Every Which Way. The show includes large format Monoscreen prints, traditional serigraphs, small format letterpress prints, “rust resist” steel art and traditional paintings. Placed together the individual works create an overview of the many bodies of work, or “categories” that Jon has developed over the years.
David Miller Photoworks cinematic photo series Scream Queens. Miller came to the valley from Nebraska and earned a BFA in Photography from ASU. He was drawn to photography as a teenager, partly because he was frustrated with his drafting skills, but mostly as a vehicle for adventure. Miller quickly saw the potential to shape ideas through the medium and began photographing models conceptually using 20th century pop cultural references in an attempt to critique old attitudes, appreciate past art forms, and replicate styles as faithfully as possible. The series was created in 2012-2013 with models Mosh and Briana Robertson using projection and shadows to emulate scenarios from old horror and sci-fi films.
The series pokes fun at both the ludicrousness of fantasy fear and the way women are portrayed in cinema. Miller remarks, “Playing with these tropes is good fun and shorthand for commonly understood cultural references- femme fatales, damsels in distress, good girls and vamps etc.- but when presented knowingly, the ludicrousness of them is apparent. It’s clear that many of these stereotypical portrayals of women still exist in modern cinema, and the best way to defang a negative element in society is to use humor.” The images appear playful and light-hearted but upon further reflection and context a critical dialogue is addressed about past and present attitudes towards the female in cinema, and in our society.
25 Years Downtown
Art Detour 25 took place the first weekend of March 2013 and the monOrchid wanted to help make this the biggest and best Art Detour event ever, by paying homage to the past, present, and future of the downtown arts community with a landmark exhibition 25 Years Downtown. Every March downtown Phoenix comes alive with artists and art lovers for a whole weekend sponsored by ArtLink—open studios, gallery events, performances—anything goes. Wayne Rainey, owner of the monOrchid and a veteran in the downtown Phoenix arts community wants this year to be special. He states, “First Fridays and Art Detour have always been about bringing people together to enjoy the art and culture of our city, this year is a once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate 25 years of success by all of the galleries and artists who made this what it is today.”
The monOrchid curator Justin Germain views Art Detour 25 as a time to explore the history, celebrate the artists, and share it all with visitors, which includes long time art lovers familiar with the Phoenix scene and newcomers. “Phoenix has evolved more than ever in the last few years, the presence of ASU downtown has brought a new demographic to the area and expanded the exposure of the city’s artists. This will be a walk down memory lane for some and an introduction for others.”
25 Years Downtown is not a comprehensive retrospective, it was conceived as an invitational exhibition with as much inclusion as possible. The curator relied on the support of the Phoenix arts community to identify significant artists to invite in the spirit of inclusiveness. This exhibition is more about the stories that the participating artists include, used to provide context to the work displayed. Some artists chose to represent their experience in the work itself, others added written experiences. Mr. Rainey and Mr. Germain chose to explore the history of downtown Phoenix art and celebrate the diversity of the arts downtown through the experiences of the artists. The result was an eclectic mix of Phoenix artists including Irma Sanchez, Wayne Rainey, Daniel Funkhouser, Lara Pecas, and Bill Dambrova, some veterans and some just now starting to make waves in the local art community.
monOrchid threw its first Arts’ Ball the Saturday of Art Detour and held a silent auction of most of the artwork in the show. Some of the proceeds went towards relaunching the nonprofit organization Shade Projects.
MonOrchid Gallery – Eric Kasper “The Epoch”
Local Phoenix artist Eric Kasper’s first solo exhibition The Epoch opened February 1, 2013 at the monOrchid in Phoenix. Kasper has shown some of his paintings at galleries and alternative spaces in the Phoenix area for a few years, but until recently he did not feel that he was ready for a solo exhibition. Monorchid’s curator, Justin Germain, recalls his first meeting with the artist as an exciting experience. “I didn’t know what to expect, his website had very small images so I wasn’t sure exactly what I was walking in to, but when I saw the paintings for the first time, I was amazed. The maturity in his paintings is extraordinary for an artist almost purely self-taught, and from a theoretical perspective the thematic depth of the work taps into what quality art should do, relate to every viewer.” As far as the curator was concerned there was no way the monOrchid couldn’t be the first gallery to show Kasper’s entire body of work. Germain comments, “Eric is a special artist because his paintings are memorable, the images stay with you. His work touches the viewer in an uneasy, sometimes shocking way that as humans we have to explore further. Some of it is very challenging and maybe difficult for some viewers, but his work is important because it leaves its mark on us.”
Eric began painting to pass the time and escape the mediocrity that surrounded him during his formative years. Without any formal education in the arts he began mimicking the artists he respected but added his own contemporary twists to traditional design techniques. As Eric continued painting, his own style evolved into an aesthetic sensibility that many artists rarely begin to fathom. What started as mere experimentation to combat boredom matured and became an exploration of human development.
The transformation allowed him to focus his thematic approach and explore the underlying facets of the events that mold our development. Much of Eric’s work stems from personal memories of early life, but they are not depictions of specific events. Instead the images serve as metaphors for the shared human experiences from our developmental years—discovery, awkwardness, isolation, obliviousness. Some of the paintings are surreal, calling to a dreamlike moment that we cannot quite grasp. Others are incredibly realistic minus some assumed details much like a faded memory. The images are simultaneously calm and unnerving; they evoke a sense of impending events that are not in our control. Eric’s imagery and his use of color and brushstroke create a tension that alludes to uncertainty. The paintings represent the frightening, anxiety ridden experience of becoming self-aware as we shed the innocence of our youth and the reality of life becomes clear(er).
Eric’s subject matter and stylistic development are intertwined. This exhibition is a reflection of his growth as an artist and the uneasy path to maturity that we encounter as humans. By exploring the experiences of our youth Eric created not only an escape for himself but also a document of our own personal histories.
Bokeh Gallery- Christopher Colville “Works of Fire”
Christopher’s initial inspiration for Works of Fire came from a poem about germination. His meditation on the subject led to thoughts of the duality of creation and destruction from seed pods exploding and life emerging into the world. This idea eventually became more explosive, literally, and resulted in the creation of works using photographic materials and gunpowder. Christopher places small amounts of gunpowder on silver gelatin paper and ignites it, creating a visual display and recording the reaction. A driving force behind the series is Carl Sagan’s quote, “darkness is commonplace; it is light that is the rarity.” The Works of Fire represent the residual effect left by a single spark amongst the mass of darkness in the universe.
Christopher views his various bodies of work as attempts to record experiences that are just outside of our understanding. Photography is the vessel he uses to explore, discover, and connect with the world. His oeuvre illustrates a dynamic range of concepts and processes; he has worked with many untraditional photographic processes including light emitted from decaying squid, shadows of dissected eyeballs, in addition to photograms, paper negatives, ambrotypes, and black salt prints.
Christopher has always been drawn to certain design elements and textures when selecting images to photograph, which he found became apparent in the Works of Fire series as well. The major difference is that he “takes” the photographs, but he “makes” the Works of Fire using photographic techniques—light, heat, and chemistry. While making an image he is also creating an event, the result is a record of the transformative phenomena that occurred. The works are often made in the field, at shooting ranges or in the desert, and he uses objects he finds in the locations to “loosely” direct the events by placing them on the paper with the gunpowder. The aspect of creating an event and recording the results is scientific in nature; in essence Christopher is experimenting with the materials, using different explosives, powders, papers, and objects and he gains more clarity about the nature of the reactions each time. With every trial he learns more about how to control the materials. But, with each attempt he finds that the resulting images are often unlike what he imagined due to the unpredictable explosive energy of the gunpowder, the true force generating the image. As Christopher continues to create, new questions emerge, which will undoubtedly lead to his next form of production. More importantly to Christopher, he hopes the images open a dialogue for viewers to ask their own questions and explore the world and their own connection to it.
MonOrchid Gallery – Matt Dougan “As the Crow Flies”
Over the years Matt created and exhibited numerous artworks including illustrations, paintings, and photographs, some of which have been featured on MSNBC.com in the Sunday travel section. His current artwork focuses on classic car, motorcycle, rock-n-roll, and road-trip themes and the people involved in what he calls, “the lifestyle.” Matt wants to use his success and passion to help others so he approached monOrchid about showing his work in January 2013 and holding an auction with some of the proceeds to benefit the Wounded Warriors Foundation and the Humane Society of Arizona.
Matt is an Army combat veteran (served 1987-1996) and an animal lover and decided he wanted to use his talents to give back to those things that he is so passionate about. Matt studied at the Art Institute of Dallas before joining the military and has since developed a diverse career as an architectural designer with several custom homes featured on hgtv.com in the Global design feature for Spanish influenced design. Matt also owns an online store, Iron Crow Vintage, specializing in hard to find classic automobile, motorcycle, and rock-n-roll memorabilia and clothing.
Dougan himself states, “Being a veteran myself, I feel a kindred spirit to my brothers and sisters in arms. There can never be enough done for our veterans and their families who give so much, especially those injured and maimed and of course the families of those who gave all. Many of the wounded warriors are injured to the point that they will be forever challenged to provide for themselves and their families and I just want to do whatever I can to help. What I can give as proceeds from the auction will be only a small portion of what these soldiers need, but with the help of friends and art lovers everywhere, maybe we can come together and make a bigger dent and provide the best we can together…..for the animal side of things, all I have to say is there are those animals out there particularly cats and dogs that are abused and neglected and I want to be a voice and help for those beautiful creatures that have no voices. They rely on us……”
Bokeh Gallery – Linda Ingraham “Off the Beaten Path: A Departure from the Norm”
Linda Ingraham is a staple in the Phoenix art scene showing her mixed media photography for two decades. Linda is represented by the acclaimed Larsen Gallery in Scottsdale where her limited edition digitally manipulated, hand built photoconstructions are regularly displayed. Recently, the artist took a step outside the status quo of her work and created a more “photographic” project of the details in and around the sleepy ghost town of Jerome, AZ.
Ingraham’s focus for many years has been on the beauty in found objects, plants, and animals and how they change over time as they decay, whither, and fall apart due to natural phenomenon. This project, titled Off the Beaten Path: A Departure from the Norm represents the artists’ interest in change and breaking from the everyday expectations of who she is and what she does. Admittedly, the imagery is more photographic than most of her work, with minimal manipulation and without her “stamp” of hand-painted and resin-coated images mounted on wood.
The subjects are also a shift for the artist, from biological to man-made, although the portraits of weathered automobiles, gas pumps, and metal chains still invoke ideas of the passage of time and the erosion of materials. Linda states, “My photo based works are usually symbols, they are not about this particular flower or tree but the “flowerness” or “treeness” of them. I want to evoke an emotional response with them. This Jerome work is about a particular place and is more documentary.” Some of the work approaches abstraction with more focus on design and color versus emotion, a definite departure for the artist that shows another side of her asthetic.
December 2012 - Featured Artists Dino Paul and Laura Spalding Best
This was the first exhibition curated at monOrchid by Art Program Director/ Curator, Justin Germain, featuring two Phoenix area artists, Dino Paul and Laura Spalding Best. Dino Paul is a graphic designer, illustrator and artist. He has been practicing his craft for over 30 years, but is relatively new to the “art world” first sharing his artwork in 2011. His art does not have any social commentary or compel thought through obscurity; the work is focused on his personal view of the world and experimentation with imagery. He calls his work his “perception of observation” because he creates his images from his mind’s eye without having any direction or rules to follow, often resulting details that are just “a little off.” Dino’s images of people and nature use bright colors, distorted features, misaligned light sources, or skewed perspectives that challenge the viewer to question their own perception and hopefully find amusement in the disjointed details. Laura Spalding Best is Arizona State University alumni who has shown in the greater Phoenix Metropolitan area for nearly 10 years and been featured in multiple local publications as well as New American Paintings. Laura also recently received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Artist Grant to continue working on several series of paintings that examine the urban landscape of Phoenix and the mundane structures that represent the community. For some time her work has focused on the collective aesthetic of the urban landscape. The idea that individuals and communities are connected literally and abstractly by common fixtures and sights is a driving force behind her paintings. Her new paintings describe different areas of greater Phoenix by the electrical lines and telephone poles that line the streets. The images reveal the unique history and character of each structure and the links between them. By unifying the portraits of these objects into a single painting or a series of paintings, she represents a monumental network that we all relate to, even though it is mostly unnoticed in our everyday lives.
This was a great show to end 2012 with the unique perspectives of two of Phoenix’s up-and-coming artists. Thank you for all of the support and keep visiting for more details about future shows!