#ArtLitPhx: Adventure and Control Art Exhibition

Renowned for her dark, intimate portraits, Arizona artist Rachel Bess incorporates classical techniques to realistically capture the likeness and complex narratives of her subjects. In her paintings, Bess employs dramatic lighting and conveys a nuanced mood that reflects her lifelong fascination with impermanence. Her latest body of work represents the balance between being in control and letting go while pursuing an underlying drive for adventure and change. Her latest exhibition Adventure and Control will be on display from April 20 through August 5 at the Mesa Arts Center (1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201). Opening reception will be May 11 from 7 pm to 10 pm in the North Gallery of Mesa Arts Center.

#ArtLitPhx: Christopher Moore presents NOIR at Mesa Arts Center

#1 New York Times bestseller Christopher Moore will be at Mesa Arts Center (1 E Main St, Mesa, Arizona 85201) with his latest novel, NOIR on April 20 from 7:00-10:00 pm . (Think Raymond Chandler meets Damon Runyon with more than a dash of Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes All Stars. It’s all very, very noir. It’s all very, very Christopher Moore!)

ABOUT THE BOOK

The absurdly outrageous, sarcastically satiric, and always entertaining New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore returns in finest madcap form with this zany noir set on the mean streets of post-World War II San Francisco, and featuring a diverse cast of characters, including a hapless bartender; his Chinese sidekick; a doll with sharp angles and dangerous curves; a tight-lipped Air Force general; a wisecracking waif; Petey, a black mamba; and many more.

San Francisco. Summer, 1947. A dame walks into a saloon . . .

It’s not every afternoon that an enigmatic, comely blonde named Stilton (like the cheese) walks into the scruffy gin joint where Sammy “Two Toes” Tiffin tends bar. It’s love at first sight, but before Sammy can make his move, an Air Force general named Remy arrives with some urgent business. ‘Cause when you need something done, Sammy is the guy to go to; he’s got the connections on the street.

Meanwhile, a suspicious flying object has been spotted up the Pacific coast in Washington State near Mount Rainer, followed by a mysterious plane crash in a distant patch of desert in New Mexico that goes by the name Roswell. But the real weirdness is happening on the streets of the City by the Bay.

When one of Sammy’s schemes goes south and the Cheese mysteriously vanishes, Sammy is forced to contend with his own dark secrets–and more than a few strange goings on–if he wants to find his girl.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Moore is the author of eleven previous novels: Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, A Dirty Job, You Suck, and Fool. He lives in San Francisco. Christopher Moore is a Changing Hands bookseller favorite.

#ArtLitPhx: Fantastic Planet Kickoff Celebration

Join Mesa Arts Center in celebrating the beginning of the Fantastic Planet installation with performances by musician Elise Trouw at 7 and 8 pm; dance performances choreographed by Liliana Gomez at 6:30 pm, 7:45 pm, and 8:45 pm; and Vessel Project’s Transfix performed throughout the evening and more.

Fantastic Planet is an installation of six, gigantic inflatable humanoid figures by Australian artist Amanda Parer, and will have its United States premiere in downtown Mesa. The massive sculptures will be lit from the inside at night, and will be on view at Mesa Arts Center, i.d.e.a. Museum, at the Federal building across the street from Arizona Museum of Natural History and over Milano’s music in downtown Mesa from May 4 through 13. Fantastic Planet is inspired by the 1973 Czech/French film of the same name.

 

#ArtLitPhx: We the People

“We the People” highlights exceptional figurative artists, who capture an aspect of the American experience. Representing a wide array of mediums and styles, the artists’ treatment of this classic subject ranges from traditional portraiture to social discourse. The artists selected for this exhibition provide a limited snapshot of the complex cultural fabric that binds not only our country but our humanity.

Opening night will be Friday May 11, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at the Mesa Arts Center (1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201) in the Dobson Main Gallery, with musical entertainment by Jaime Cortez Band. The exhibition will be on display from May 6 through August 5.

 

#ArtLitPhx: Artist Lecture with Patti Warashina and Transitory Conversations Exhibition

Join us for an Artist lecture with Patti Warashina on Saturday, May 12th from 6:30- 7:30 pm in the Dobson lecture hall at Mesa Arts Center, Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum (1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201).  Warashina’s Transitory Conversations exhibition opening reception will be May 11 from 7:00-10:00 pm. The exhibition will be at Mesa Arts Center from April 13th through August 5th.

With a career spanning over 55 years, Washington State artist Patti Warashina has established herself as an artistic icon, especially in the media of ceramics. She uses the human figure as a vehicle to portray what she draws from her own daily life experiences, as well as the absurdities and foibles from the civilization in which we live. Her characters become the actors in her introspective narratives and the viewer becomes the voyeur. In most of her current work, the abstract quality of the surfaces erases and denies the identification of time and place, speaking to the universal quirks of all human nature. However, recently the absurdity of the current world has been a fascinating source of ideas for her to explore.

 

#ArtLitPhx: Hello Lamp Post at Mesa Arts Center

 

Hello Lamp Post, a playful work of interactive digital art that invites people to strike up conversations with familiar street fixtures, will be installed in downtown Mesa and on Mesa Arts Center’s campus March 17 through April 16, 2018, marking the second installation of this work in the United States. The public art project by PAN Studios in London will encourage people to pause in their tracks and interact via text message with everyday street objects like lamp posts, benches, buildings, and drains. The objects will ‘wake up,’ prompting a set of carefully crafted questions about what people are doing and how they feel about where they live, work and play.

In the Mesa project, 32 objects including Mesa Arts Center itself will come to life via anonymous text messages. All that is needed to engage the objects is a basic mobile phone. As conversations grow, the objects will develop personalities and engage visitors around what they’ve heard from others. Visitors will be invited to tell the designated Hello Lamp Post objects their stories, give opinions and share observations.

Cindy Ornstein, Executive Director of Mesa Arts Center and Director of Arts & Culture for City of Mesa said of the project, “We love the way Hello Lamp Post encourages visitors to Mesa Arts Center and downtown Mesa to notice and look differently at objects in the environment. We know the installation will surprise and delight, but also hope it helps expose public dreams, and understanding about values, public spaces and community.”

An object map will be available at Mesa Arts Center’s box office and throughout downtown Mesa. Visitors are encouraged to explore and converse with as many of the objects as they like. The project map (and anonymous answers given by visitors) will also be available to view on the project website at https://mesa.hlp.city.

Mesa Arts Center is located at One East Main Street in downtown Mesa, AZ. More information can be found at MesaArtsCenter.com.

View a short video about Hello Lamp Post here.

#ArtLitPhx: spark! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity

This year’s Festival of Creativity will feature an exhibition of 16 art cars and motorcycles, multiple hot rods, lowriders, and interactive arts experiences for people of all ages.

Spark! celebrates the imaginative spark in all of us, by showcasing Arizona artists and performers and inviting visitors to explore and enjoy live music, aerial dance performances, hands-on experiences, live art-making, installations, demonstrations, a variety of foods, a beer, wine and cocktail area, and more. Spark! Will take place on March 17 from 12 pm – 11 pm and March 18 from 10 am-5 pm at the Mesa Arts Center (1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201). Admission and parking are free!