“Hot Summer Nights” is a current photographic exhibition at Chartreuse Gallery, a contemporary art space on historic Grand Avenue. Showing the works of two local photographers, “Hot Summer Nights” focuses on the urban side of Phoenix. These small-scale chromira prints by Catherine Slye and Jared Elizares is the outcome of the traveling experience of the photographers through Phoenix. “See Phoenix through loving eyes. . . . at night. As night descends, the city is bathed in rich, saturated, vibrant color. Blues and purples wash the urban environment, juxtaposing the naturally occurring with the human made. What better time to photograph Phoenix in the Summer, than at night.”
Both photographers bring out the warm colors in their works, which is in harmony with Arizona’s nature. The level of quality and technicality of these photographs, besides the serenity portrayed in them, is praiseworthy. The neatness, elegance, and high quality of the works take the viewers with the photographers on their journey. It is almost impossible not to visualize the photographs in larger scale. Elizares’ darker settings and Slye’s lengthy exposures create a complex visual experience.
“Hot Summer Nights” offers viewers informative and enriched historical content. Each photograph is accompanied with a separate wall label that explains the historical context of the photographed site. The wall texts, provided by Marshall Shore, are thoughtful and well-composed. The length of these labels are varied, depending on the historical context of each building/place.
Although all the stories are very interesting and well-written, the level of the information that can be obtained becomes overwhelming, considering the limited days you can visit the gallery. In order to absorb all the valuable information, the audience need more time to explore, and especially that it is extremely difficult to ignore the intriguing wall texts. In some cases, the writings would become the primary subject matter and draw the attention away from the photographs.
Ellee Bokharachi received her master's of art history from ASU. She is currently interning in the curatorial department of SMoCA. Ellee has recently completed her internship in the curatorial and education departments at ASU Art Museum. She writes for the Reorient, an online magazine dedicated to the contemporary Middle Eastern art.