Christy Brown organizes the Tempe Community Galleries exhibitions. She explains that in conjunction with the Tempe Center for the Arts Gallery’s Smithsonian “Green Revolution” exhibition (which opened last January), all the community gallery shows will have “going green” themes this year.
Raw opens today. The exhibition focuses on the work of three artists who are choosing to move away from the use of harsh chemicals and synthetic materials in their work, and are instead working with raw, recycled or organic materials. I am one of those artists, as are Joe Willie Smith and Aimee León.
An artist and certified sheep shearer, uses natural raw wool along with recycled industrial materials. The show includes a number of her small and soft – object forms . Most are beautiful tactile vessels. I want to touch them all.
Joe Willie Smith
A multi-media artist and musician includes works in metal. He works with found objects and repurposed material. He talks in general about finding just the right piece and then in particular about the white form below – how he scratched/drew on it one early morning to catch both the light and shadow of the sunrise.
Raw includes a number of my paintings and one small drawing. I work with organic material, primarily egg tempera and casein. I like to refer to my mediums as egg and milk. This work below uses casein as underpainting, and egg tempera as the surface color.
Delivery and Install
I plan to drop off work and head back to the studio to paint, but when I learn Joe Willie is in the exhibit and he’ll be dropping work off, I wait for him. And as it all plays out we spend the morning working with installer, James Sulac. Before Christy leaves for the morning she mentions how the work might hang. She asks which side of the wall I want my work on and I tell her. But after Joe Willie arrives and we begin seeing how interestingly things connect, we suggest the work hang in the space mixing together. Below are a few install shots.
I understand we connect in terms of the raw materials theme, but as I look at everything I appreciate Christy’s eye more and more. The organic forms of León’s soft sculpture connects to the light forms and color in my paintings and to [the appearance] of softness in 2 of Willie’s larger pieces.
And you probably can’t tell from these photos (below) but the colors and lines in Joe’s work connect to my use of the same design elements. The acid green of his sculpture (below) runs right through the mid-section of my painting to the left, and is high-lighted by reddish pink points in both works. Joe Willie decides grouping his smaller pieces salon style will enhance the grouping of shapes in my compositions, and vice versa.
I regret not getting shots of another wall where León’s wall pieces hang along side Joe’s and my work, a similar soft glow of lavender and blue shows up. Somehow all the work organizes between fragility and strength.
It’s Raw and you’ll just have to go see for yourself.
WHERE: Tempe Public Library
(Lower Level Youth Library)
WHEN: Now to Dec 4th
The Tempe Public Library is located at
3500 S Rural Rd
Tempe, AZ 85282.
For more info on show and for artists’ statements click on → Raw