Arizona Biennial: A “State of Art” Exhibition

July 18, 2013 |
Anh-Thuy Nguyen, "Thuy & Rice", 2011, Still Shots, Video, 4:34 minutes.

Anh-Thuy Nguyen, “Thuy & Rice”, 2011, Still Shots, Video, 4:34 minutes.

What does art in Arizona look like today? Do artists in Tucson do the same type of work as Phoenix based artists? Is painting dead? What the heck is an installation?

Every two years the Tucson Museum of Art undertakes an ambitious exhibition that attempts to answer these questions and highlights contemporary art as it is being created by Arizona artists in a single show like no other. The “Arizona Biennial” is open to any artist residing in the state and is always an fascinating survey of how artists are working and what their work looks like. For the past few iterations, the show has been guest curated by a single, invited juror. This arrangement offers two benefits, first all artists who submit to the show have their work seen by a prominent art world curator, and secondly the final show is often a representation of our state’s artists by an outside, unbiased eye. This year the guest juror is Rene Paul Barilleaux, chief Curator of Art after 1945 at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.

Barilleaux selected “a large number of installations and videos” for inclusion this year according to Tucson Museum of Art curator Julie Sasse. “His unique vision will prove to be a factor in this exciting new look at Arizona art” said Sasse. This year the Biennial features five installations and six video artworks. That coupled with 28 paintings, 12 sculptures and 12 photographs, 15 works on paper and two mixed media pieces, it makes for a diverse and eclectic range of genres in one place. The 80 selected works were drawn from over 1,250 that were submitted by 419 artists around the state. 62 different artists are represented with a slight edge of male over female artists this year. The Phoenix area is home to 22 selected artists, while there are 34 Tucson based artists in the mix, along with 4 hailing from Flagstaff.

Craig Cully (Tucson), “Conviction: A Soft Punch”, 2012, Oil on panel 12.75″ x 12″.

Paintings make up a large percent of the wall space at the biennial again this year with several well known figurative artists presenting strong new works. Tucson favorites Daniel Martin Diaz, Craig Cully, James Cook and Michael Stack are represented with their powerful and unique visions. Former University of Arizona School of Art head and public artist Moira Marti-Geoffrion, and mixed media artist Michael Cajero also present strong works that speak to their unusual use of materials and presentation styles.

But perhaps looking beyond the recognizable names is the true allure of a show like the biennial. Work by emerging, or under-exposed artists from around the state lets us see how artists are responding to social, political and gender issues, along with how they are reacting to new media and non-traditional modes of expression. While this show represents the view of a single juror, and is based upon the submissions that were received, it is also a curious snapshot of a moment in time, and by looking at this show every two years, art aficionados can truly take stock of what contemporary art in Arizona looks like.

The Arizona Biennial exhibition opens on July 19 with a reception from 6-8pm. The show will be on display at the TMA through September 29 in the main exhibition space. The museum is located at 140 North Main Avenue. TucsonMuseumOfArt.Org

Over 1,250 works were submitted to Arizona Biennial 2013 and 80 pieces were selected for the exhibition. This is the oldest running juried exhibition featuring exclusively Arizona artists.

The 2013 Participating Artists are:

Noé Badillo (Tucson)

Robert Barber (Tucson)

Kristin Bauer (Tempe)

Jesse Berlin (Tucson)

Brent Bond (Scottsdale)

Michael Cajero (Tucson)

Christopher Colville (Phoenix)

James A. Cook (Tucson)

Craig Cully (Tucson)

Kerstin Dale (Flagstaff)

Bill Dambrova (Flagstaff)

Jennifer Day (Tucson)

Karen deClouet (Tucson)

Daniel Martin Diaz (Tucson)

Simon Donovan and Rebecca Horton (Tucson/Tucson)

Fausto Fernandez (Phoenix)

Jacob Fisher (Tempe)

Dan Fogel (Tempe)

Moira Marti Geoffrion (Tucson)

Sarah Gill (Tucson)

Jennifer Holt (Flagstaff)

Christopher Jagmin (Phoenix)

Mohammed Reza Javaheri (Phoenix)

Alan Bur Johnson (Jerome)

Devin Kelly (Flagstaff)

Ron Kovatch (Tucson)

Wen Hang Lin (Mesa)

Larry Valencia Madrigal (Glendale)

Michael Marlowe (Phoenix)

Monica Aissa Martinez (Phoenix)

Jill Marie Mason (Tempe)

Tom Mickelson (Tucson)

Eddie Mitchell (Scottsdale)

John Randall Nelson (Tempe)

Anh-Thuy Nguyen (Tucson)

Michael Nolan (Tucson)

George Peñaloza (Tucson)

Anthony Pessler (Phoenix)

Mark Pomilio (Tempe)

Teri Pursch (Tucson)

Rembrandt Quiballo (Tempe)

Doug Rautenkranz (Tucson)

Amanda Ivy Reed (Tucson)

Eduardo L. Rivera (Tempe)

Aaron Thomas Roth (Tucson)

Phil Rowland (Tempe)

Sarah Rowland (Tempe)

Dave Sayre (Tucson)

Steven Schaeffer (Flagstaff)

James Schaub (Tucson)

Henry Leo Schoebel (Phoenix)

Edwina Scott (Tucson)

Gary Setzer (Tucson)

Martina Shenal (Tucson)

Shannon Smith (Tucson)

Mano Sotelo (Tucson)

Shawna Leigh Spargur (Tucson)

Mike Stack (Tucson)

Karen Strom (Sonoita)

Hiro Tashima (Tucson)

Rossitza Todorova (Tempe)

Kathleen Velo (Tucson)

Angie Zielinski (Tucson)

Wen Hang Lin, “Day_09-09 from 10-29 to 17-18″, 2012, Computer recording of mouse movement, digital inkjet output on photo rag paper, 12″ x 40”.

Category: Arts, Business, DOWNTOWN / UNIVERSITY / 4TH AVE, The Scoop