The Rising Arts Writers Program is an initiative created by The Arts Beacon to encourage, mentor, support and post writings by aspiring locals writers. With the intention of fostering critical responses to art and artists in the Valley, the RAW Program creates an opportunity for up and coming writers to comment on their own art scene using the platform of The Arts Beacon website while also being a valuable resource for local artists seeking insights into their practice.
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Mark Klett is a geologist turned photographer located in the Art School at Arizona State University where he is the Regents’ Professor of Art. He’s also an author and coauthor of over fifteen books. His books, like his art, focus on nature, mainly the American southwest. Klett’s most recent works of art, titled “Border Makers” are located at the Lisa Sette Gallery in downtown Phoenix. The photos focus on desert scenes, mostly in Arizona. Many of the photos are of cacti, such as this night scene titled, “Saguaro Lit by Headlamp and the Moon.” I loved the contrasting colors of the night sky and the green of the cactus illuminated by the moon.
The other cactus images were also beautiful, but the most engaging were the interactive pieces. “iPad Stereo Viewer,” and “Two Saguaros Posing as One” let the viewer take in the cactuses in a different way. The “iPad Stereo Viewer” was on, as mentioned in the title, an iPad that the viewer looked at through, referencing and updating stereograph viewers from early photography. As one looked at one image they could also use their finger and scroll to another.
The “Two Saguaros Posing as One,” was a little different. The viewer still had a 3D visualization, but it wasn’t on an iPad, and to see the image one had to go into a small room. Once entering the room, Klett’s and his collaborator, Byron Wolfe’s, photo was seen in a picture frame of two. The viewer put a rectangular pair of goggles on their face, and walked half way to the image. There, one saw the cactuses in 3D. The 3D visuals for both works made the pieces come to life, where details could be closer scrutinized.
Another piece was a line-up of tools on the farthest wall of the gallery. They included what looked like branches made into either cutting tools, or wand-like instruments. The piece was titled “Sunrise Sticks,” and were made of “miscellaneous wood, metal, and found objects.” Overall, the show is a fitting tribute to a well-known Arizona artist in one of Phoenix’s renowned galleries. It exposes new directions for Klett, beyond his well-known photographic works.