The 10 Best Art Exhibitions and Installations I Saw in Phoenix in 2012

Categories: Visual Art
Anthony Velasquez Senses #3 (Courtesy of Lisa Sette Gallery)_300.jpg
Courtesy of Lisa Sette Gallery
Anthony Velasquez Senses #3
7. Anthony Velasquez's "An Odd Kind of Sympathy" at Lisa Sette Gallery
In the spring, Scottsdale gallery owner and art community staple Lisa Sette spotted work by Anthony Velasquez in a framing shop. Within months, she was hosting a series of his work and added him to her successful stable of artists. Velasquez might be new to the local fine arts scene, but he's been embedded in the urban arts scene since he was a kid growing up in Avondale.

His mom owned an antique shop, and because he was constantly surrounded by well-worn trinkets and decor, he says he grew an appreciation for age and craftsmanship, which is clear in his work. At Lisa Sette Gallery, the artist hung a collection of still life paintings that had a warmth and distinct ethereal quality.

In each, five items -- one for each of the five senses -- were carefully balanced on top of one another and painted with an obsessive attention to detail on dark walnut panels. He called them "totems to human experience." And I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Type Truck (claire lawton)_300.jpg
Claire Lawton
Kyle Durrie's Type Truck
6. Kyle Durrie's Moveable Type Truck at ASU
When the Arizona AIGA chapter announced it was bringing Portland-based artist and letterpress fiend Kyle Durrie to Phoenix, there was an audible squeal that came from somewhere deep inside the New Times office.

Durrie's known for her travelling letterpress studio she built inside a 1982 Chevy van with funds from Kickstarter. Durrie parked outside the ASU art building in Tempe for an afternoon, told stories of her letterpress trip across the country, dubbed "Moveable Type," and gave her drooling fans a chance to create (and buy) a couple posters. Moveable eye candy, indeed.

Cattle Track Couture detail from dress_500.jpg
Claire Lawton
Cattle Track Couture detail from dress
5. "Cattle Track Couture" at Cattle Track
Dennita Sewell and Janie Ellis work very well together. Sewell is Phoenix Art Museum's Curator of Fashion Design, Ellis runs Cattle Track, an artist compound in Scottsdale. And while their daily lives look next to nothing alike, they were both raised by parents who were pioneers and craftspeople who built their own houses, farmed their own land, and, most importantly, made their own clothes.

In March, the two opened the doors to Cattle Track for a special exhibition of handmade clothes by Janie's mother, Rachel, who crafted dresses, blouses, pants, and skirts for Janie and a number of theatrical productions around town.

The show was beautifully presented; clothes were fitted to forms Janie handmade and stuffed (which she'll tell you was no simple task), and a collection of fabrics Ellis used was on view for large groups of fashion-invested community members and art appreciators alike.

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