The “Friends Helping Friends” opening reception was hosted in the historic Icehouse this past Friday and a closing reception will be this upcoming Third Friday. This eclectic exhibit is a 100 % auction benefit, with local artists donating their work to the show and the proceeds going to artist and curator Laura Dragon and her fight with cancer. The exhibition combined various disciplines to produce an energetic and vibrant display. Ranging from ceramics to charcoal to acrylic to glasswork, this diverse presentation had a little something for every taste.
The cathedral room was the perfect space to showcase the talents of Danielle Wood. Her intricate ceramic work lined the perimeter in an organic serpentine manner. In some places the work was placed on the wall, which gave it almost a biotic quality as if it had made the decision to ascend on its own. The delicacy of the sculptures was accentuated both by shards of clay strewn amongst them and the industrial feel of the structure itself. The contrast of smooth ceramic figures against concrete and metal was an effective nod to the vastness of the ocean and its delicate life balance.
Jon Wassom’s “The Secret” is a beautifully layered acrylic work which drew viewers in for closer inspection with its textural quality. Wassom’s deft use of subtle color shifts provided a work that was both abstract and representational simultaneously. The figures in this work seemed to levitate from the canvas making it hard not to reach out and examine its tactility. There was a melancholic quality to the figures in this work, but the artist’s choice of color allowed a balance against the dysphoria and instead gave it a sanguine feel.
The intricate charcoal work of Tato Caraveo was displayed on a wood panel and brought to life with accents of color. The ethereal beauty of the figure combined with the organic feel of the wood itself gave a somewhat haunting element to the piece. The piercing gaze and delicacy of the lines seemed almost to animate the character and offer dimension to this 2D work. Combined with the masterful use of shading and quality of form, Caraveo’s piece begged an audience from across the room.
Cindy Schnackel’s playful arrangement of fowl and figure generated a chuckle from its viewers. Her expert use of color mixing and shading enhance the surrealism without making the work feel too abstract. The warmth and vibrancy of this piece oppose its small scale, allowing it to command more attention than one might expect from a 15 x 13 image. Though the artist often imbues a political message into her work, she also allows space for her viewer to simply relish in the folly of her pieces, perfectly stated here in “Humorous Surrealism”.
Director Joe Holdren graciously provided a space within the benefit for local artists to share their business cards with the public. Holdren’s charitable offer to promote participating artists whether they were showing work or not speaks to the sense of kinship within Phoenix’s artist community, making this exhibit truly a benefit to all.