60 elements with old black things

Monday afternoon I peek into the gallery and see Joe Willie setting up his exhibition. I enter and take the view in…a circular work hangs on the center wall and other sculptural works lean on side walls. I see tools and a scaffold…serious business, I think. Something very whimsical catches my eye. I walk over to it. Joe Willie has a sound loop going thru the speakers. He turns it off to show me the full sculpture. I don’t connect what he is doing for a bit. He starts to jab…pluck, pluck, poke, tap, tap, tap…and the space is filled with sounds, vibrations…beat, rhythm.  Though I know he is playing and enjoying this object, he is also serious and thoughtful with it. My drawing class awaits but…I am taken in for a moment…time stands still here.
I pause, I listen. I look at the object, and catch its movement.  I look at Joe Willie’s hands and catch their movement. I connect the movement to the sound. I feel privileged, that in the busyness of my day, I have this very unusual and very cool, behind the scenes, art experience.

He explains what he plans to do, but in that planning is a lot of fluidity. I can’t imagine working the way he works…with the ease he seems to have.  I tell him how I am impressed that he can pull it all together this final one week, and he smiles and tells me he’s been pulling it all together for years and years. I understand and I respect the clarification. 

I look forward to the opening…seriously whimsical…is how I might describe Joe Willie’s work.

The Eric Fischl Gallery, at Phoenix College, opens its first exhibition of the Fall season next week. If you haven’t visited this new, state of the art space, now is the time. Artist, and adjunct professor Joe Willie Smith, invites you to come and experience his work. Included in the exhibit will be sculpture, sound and video.



Who:                 Joe Willie Smith

What:                Solo Exhibition 
                            60 Elements with Old Black Things

Where:             Eric Fischl Gallery
                            Phoenix College, Fine Arts Building, 2nd floor
                            1202 W Thomas Rd Phoenix, AZ 85013

When:               Opening Reception September 10th, 4pm – 8pm 

Joe Willie Smith writes….
I’ll be sixty years old in September, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to take a look at my life as an artist and some of the events that have occurred along the way.
This exhibit will be part retrospective, part chronology with a few new pieces. 
I continue to work with found resources, I’m starting to paint again, but still enjoy multi-media work.
My journey as an artist has carried me from the Civil Rights Movement to our first African-American President.
This exhibit gives me a wonderful opportunity to reflect on events both personal and societal that have occurred
during my time.
My work is in the collections of The Phoenix Art Museum, The Butler Museum of American Art, Neiman Marcus Corporation, Gannett -The Arizona Republic, Taller Experimental De Grafica (Cuba) and many personal collections throughout the U.S.

For more information call 602-285-7277. 
The exhibition runs through September 25th.

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