On our visit to the Phoenix Art Gallery I wanted to concentrate on finding art that told the story of the southwestern part of the United States. This stunning piece called Majestic Cat is by Tom Palmore. He specializes in paintings that include wild animals and look almost like photographs. By putting the animals in a setting that has connections to the human world he wants to remind the viewer that we share our planet with other beings. The southwest Sonoran Desert is home to many mountain lions. Artist Lew Davis was born in the copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. The Phoenix Art Gallery has a whole series of his paintings which depict life in a copper mining town including this rather haunting one of a young boy called Little Boy Lives in A Copper Camp. Georgia O Keeffe is probably the most famous artist of the southwestern United States. She lived and worked primarily in New Mexico and painted many pieces that depict canyons. This one called Canyon Country was painted in 1965. Although the Grand Canyon is the most well-known of the southwest canyons there are an abundance of canyons throughout the area. Like Georgia O Keeffe artist Paul Pletka lives and works primarily in New Mexico but he studied at the University of Arizona. This piece of his called Our Lord The One Who Is Flayed shows a group of Mexican people reenacting the passion of Christ during Lent. The painting has images from the biblical story of the crucifixion as well as the story of the Mexican deity Xipe Totec the god of renewal. Dave, my brother and our art gallery guide check out a recreation of the Colorado River by artist Maya Lin. It is called Pin River and made up of thousands of metal pins pushed into the wall. The artist digitally mapped the topographical lines of the river and then recreated it. Part of the Colorado River flows through Arizona’s Grand Canyon before emptying into Lake Mead on the Arizona Nevada border. I was particularly interested in Phoenix artist Ed Mell because he taught for a time on the Hopi Indian Reservation just as we did. This piece of his is called Sweeping Clouds.
The Phoenix Art Gallery provides a good introduction to art of the southwest.