SMoCA Hosts Summer Exhibitions

Shows feature works from painting and glass, to interactive art and video

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art hosts four summer exhibitions featuring works from painting and glass to interactive art and video. As SMoCA celebrates its 20th anniversary year, the museum looks back to the beginning with an exhibition dedicated to glass and looks ahead with an exhibition featuring cutting-edge technology that speaks to SMoCA’s history of pushing the boundaries of what art can be. These exhibitions reflect the wide-ranging approaches to contemporary art.

southwestNET Shizu Saldamando 
Through Oct. 13

SMoCA premieres new work by artist Shizu Saldamando as part of the 18th iteration of a series that presents mid-career artists from the Southwest region of the United States and Mexico. Through intimate and provocative paintings, drawings and video, Saldamando presents a contemporary take on portraiture that explores and challenges the constructs of identity. She works from informal snapshots of friends and family, focusing on often-overlooked communities of color: punks, queers, activists and artists. Challenging the traditional conventions of wealth and prestige in portraiture, Saldamando presents work that allows the underground crowd to see themselves reflected and affirmed in contemporary culture, while making them visible to new audiences. The show is sponsored by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

“Shizu Saldamando brings her unique perspective to an exciting body of new work: richly detailed and vibrant paintings that bring characters to life. Her work reflects a broader and timely take on the history of portraiture,” says Jennifer McCabe, SMoCA director and chief curator.

Divergent Materiality: Contemporary Glass Art
 Through Oct. 13

Divergent Materiality: Contemporary Glass Art is a contemporary take on one of the first exhibitions featured at SMoCA, Studio Glass: From the Gerard L. Cafesjian Collection. As the lead donor of the museum, Cafesjian’s legacy is important and his love of glass is undeniable. This exhibition highlights contemporary glass artists—both masters and emerging—whose innovative approaches using glass have advanced the medium’s discourse within contemporary art. While this is not a survey, the artworks selected represent the vast techniques and ideas used to explore this transformative material from the mid-20th century to today.

The exhibition features works from the collections of Stuart and Judy Heller, Sherman and Linda Saperstein, Fred and Sharon Schomer, Dan and Gail Tenn, and SMoCA. Artists include well-known figures, such as Howard Ben Tré, Dale Chihuly, Lino Tagliapietra, Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtová. It also includes emerging artists whose works engage a broader dialogue in contemporary art, such as Matt EskucheJoseph Ivacic, Charlotte Potter, Ethan Stern and Tim Tate. The show, designed by Jay Atherton, Clay Studio, is permitted thanks to the support of The Arizona Glass Alliance, Felice Appell, and Penelope and Richard Post.

“Using glass as medium is no doubt evidence to an artist’s mastery of their technique,” says Lauren R. O’Connell, curator. “But when looking at contemporary glass one must also consider the contextual influences effecting the artist’s ideas and process. The artists in this exhibition use the materiality of glass to enhance their perspectives on the contemporary moment, whether through translatable narratives or abstract luminous bodies of glass.”

Mutual Reality: Art on the Edge of Technology Through Oct. 6

In the 21st century, each of us—often unknowingly—leave a digital footprint in everything we do from texting to a simple internet search. This exhibition presents the multiple ways in which we, as users, interact with an artwork and the response or output the artwork provides in return. These interactions are meant to get the viewer thinking not only about the traces we leave behind, but the effects we have on technology. In this important moment in time, humans and technology are evolving together and interactive art exemplifies this relationship. This intimate level of engagement with an artwork opens the opportunity to shift the viewer’s perspective on the meaning and boundaries of art itself.

The work of pioneering artists in the field of interactive digital art will be on view alongside emerging artists on the cutting edge of technology and art, including work by a local artist using virtual reality. The nine artists included in the exhibition are: Ernest Edmonds, Charis Elliott, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Marpi, Aakash Nihalani, Mimi Onuoha, Purring Tiger (Aaron Sherwood and Kiori Kawai), Daniel Rozin and Tiffany Trenda.

Mutual Reality: Art on the Edge of Technology  is meant to spark thought about how we as humans effect technology and leave our imprint on it. My hope is that people will begin to view technology beyond something that is sterile or flashy and recognize that it can be used by artists as a vehicle for creative human expression,” says Julie Ganas, SMoCA curator of programming.

Back Round by Aakash Nihalani
 Through Oct. 20

Using a variety of mediums from masking tape to metal, Aakash Nihalani creates two-dimensional designs that simulate three-dimensional interactive experiences. Exploiting the malleability of human senses, his site-specific artworks modulate our spatial perceptions to provoke surprising and often humorous moments that interrupt the routine of everyday life. His works are meant to encourage the public to explore what they perceive as space and become active participants interacting with the work. Nihalani brings an all-new work to SMoCA Lounge, transforming the space into a large interactive installation for the public.


SMoCA Summer Exhibitions

 Through Oct. 20

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 7374 E. Second St., Scottsdale

For more information, visit smoca.org.

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