For a dramatic look at the effects of urbanization in the Valley, take a hike up Camelback Mountain.
From high up, wide expanses of concrete and rooftops are revealed, sprawling swaths of suburbia crowding against mountains like lapping waves. It’s disturbing and compelling in equal measure (and deftly captured by photographer Tomoko Yoneda in the 2006 coffee-table book “PHX: 21st Century City”).
It’s the kind of thing that would naturally inspire artistic interpretation. Come Tuesday, climb down Camelback and head to the nearby Shemer Art Center and Museum for “Landscaped,” an exhibit of more than a dozen artists’ works examining what the museum says is “the transition from nostalgic vistas to bleak metropolis.”
The exhibit runs through Feb. 13. Admission is free.
Works on display include Croatia-born, 31-year-old Scottsdale painter Edna Dapo’s evocative “Aftermath” series, the hazy memory-fueled abstracts of Tempe’s Tawni Shuler and two pieces from Tempe 25-year-old Marcus Payzant, whose paintings have long juxtaposed the natural world and man-made objects like lampposts, tricycles and traffic cones.
“It was a perfect fit,” says Payzant (profiled April 29, 2007, at getoutaz.com).
Payzant has a solo show at the Shemer in July. His “Landscaped” offerings include an untitled 2007 painting — also gracing the cover of the Shemer’s 2008 calendar — that shows Kentucky Derby-winning racehorse Barbaro before the animal was euthanized a year ago.
“Landscaped,” Payzant says, contrasts the idyllic, conservative wonder of conventional landscape art and asks whether there is a beauty in harsher depictions of modern reality.
“It really runs the gamut of what you think of a landscape,” he says, “and challenges the notion of what a traditional landscape should be.”
When: Opening reception 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, exhibit through Feb. 13; gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
Where: Shemer Art Center and Museum, 5005 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Information: (602) 262-4727 or www.phoenix.gov/shemer