Lately Seen

In the midst of a frenzy of exertion, generally along the lines of physical labor and the considerable carving out of a new routine, I have taken a few moments to come up for air and have lately had the opportunity to see some stirring artwork in Arizona. Work, quite worthy of mention.

On Friday I was in Phoenix, Arizona and spent time with an exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum that I found particularly notable. On a personal level, I enjoyed the content of vintage images from the group once called f/64. Visual descriptions of a simpler world of the 1930s in northern California, from Mendocino, Oakland and San Francsico to Carmel। The exhibit starred such well known favorites as Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham and Ansel Adams, to name a few.
Shell, Edward Weston

More fascinating however, was the way in which the photographic material was assembled and displayed; not simply a show of pretty pictures (although they most certainly were) but rather an exhibit based upon the exploration of specific methods and philosophies of making an image. This seems historically significant because parallel debates were occurring within other mediums as well during the twentieth century. The contrast of two very different approaches to image making was well defined within the exhibit and the accompanying texts were informational as well as beautifully displayed. A sense of intense aesthetic was embedded across the content of the entire show.

The exhibit is entitled Debating Modern Photography: Triumph of Group f.64 and can be found in the Norton Photography Gallery, which is an extension of the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography। The exhibit runs from September 15, to December 30, 2007 in the Phoenix Art Museum। I highly reccommend taking the time to wander through the remarkable and competently assembled presentation of photography and history.
But one doesn’t need to leave the neighborhood (Congress Street in downtown Tucson) to see artwork that is equally as aesthetically vital, as substantially composed and overflowing with meaningful content. Just a few doors down from our emerging Griffonage Studios, is the highly regarded Dinnerware Artspace. There, a local artist named Andrew Polk has created an installation in the middle gallery at Dinnerware, which is layered with beauty, substance and contemporaneousness.

Entitled “Drowning”, Polk’s installation is a multi faceted video and audio projection which draws in the viewer with a soft rain of images and gentle sounds। Initially one is attracted to the work by its’ fragile and floating magnetic qualities। But the work continues to hold one’s attention with complex and significantly layered content: an Arabic chant, a demonstration of the process of water boarding, footage of American soldiers and the American flag against a brilliant blue sky। The continuous, underlying thesis of the piece is that the world is drowning in religion, in patriotism, history, biology and other issues. Drowning is essentially a metaphor for being overtaken by something beyond one’s control. These are ways to pass or move into oblivion, which the artist says, may not always be a bad thing.

The installation is well worth the visual, auditory, sensual, intellectual and spiritual experience and should not be missed. It runs through December 21, 2007.
Photos courtesy of PAM, Center for Creative Photography and Dinnerware Artspace.


Anonymous said...

Once again, you give us such wonderful choices. Merci my dear.

sfmichel said...

PAM is a fine place. For AZ. Oh, I suppose for any place.

Ovid said...

Best wishes with your new space. We are all thinking of you (and good thoughts).

Orinda Su said...

I jumped over and read the little blurb on your griffonage blog. Sooooo excited for your new art space. Best wishes to you to Steve!

Jo said...

So excited to be showing my work in your new space, Lynn. Thanks for the great writing here!

matthew, mark, luke and john said...

we love the new studios at griffonage! everyone should support this great new place in tucson.

Marvelinda said...

Griffonage Studios is a wonderful new gallery in downtown Tucson. I hope that it will be a place that many people go and that fabulous artists are shown.

Harvey Melody III said...

I went by the gallery on Congress Street last week and it is really a cool little place. Your utlook on art and arthistory amkes me think the Griffonage Studios will be welcome in the art world of dusty old Tucson. I wish you good luck and will be at all of the events there.
--- Harvey

Wini said...

PAM is a marvelous art museum and I have seen the f.64 exhibit. It is very good, as you say.
Best wishes on Congress St. We will all be watching for your successes.

yaqui warrior said...

like your approach to art and to art history. I saw the exhibit at the Phenix Art Museum and it is very intelligent. Here is hoping that your Griffonage will be as good.