Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Behind the Studio Doors: Neon Edition

If neon is a word you haven’t heard since the ‘80s, prepare to have your mind blown. In yet another instance of peering behind the art studio doors and finding something amazing, a glass workshop with a focus on neon was recently held here at the MAC.

Instructors Jason Chakravarty and Steve Ciezki taught students how to work with neon and illuminate nontraditional glass forms, including vessels and sculpted forms participants created in the hot shop.  Students left with glass forms that are filled with gas and can be illuminated. 

Below are some pictures and short videos of the completed works and the process. This particular workshop is not offered again until January, but there are many other interesting art classes and workshops starting this fall. Registration begins soon, so follow this link to find out more:

video video

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grin and Grill It: What's Hot in the Welding Studio Right Now

Art happens everywhere at the MAC- surprises await behind each studio door. Today we ventured to the welding studio, where we found Jim Elling with his latest creation. It’s not just an interesting piece of art, but it is also a functional grill!

From the toothy grin to the tail pipe that spews smoke, we were taken with the whimsy and detail of his creation. He completed it in the last class session and it took him around 8 weeks to finish. We were amazed when we learned that he did this in the Introduction to Welding class!

Here’s Jim with his work and a closer shot of just the grill. 

We also caught M. J. Barret working on her latest piece.

Fall classes are starting soon. Your chance to work with a blowtorch (or paintbrush) is just around the corner! To get more information on classes and class registration, click here:

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sea Urchins at Summer Arts Camp

This week at Summer Arts Camp the theme is Finding Nemo.  We found some campers hard at work creating Salt Dough and Toothpick Sea Urchins. 

Little hands shaped flour, salt, and food coloring into colorful urchin bodies. . .  

while little faces looked steeped in concentration.


At last, masterpieces were revealed!

Summer Arts Camp continues with weekly themed sessions through August 1.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Paper Cuts; Two Artists and Why They Work With Paper

“Cutting paper is like drawing with the mind of a sculptor,” says Beatrice Coron, one of the artists featured this summer at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museums exhibition, Fold, Paper, Scissors. Coron’s work is personal and subjective; as a worker of many odd jobs before becoming a professional artist, she translates her experiences into intricate pieces. Her works feature social situations and fragments of her realistic imagination. For Tahiti Pehrson, coming to paper cutting was a more evolved process. Starting with bootleg stencil t-shirts in high school, then moving to San Francisco and being influenced by street art, Pehrson saw a stencil could stand on its own as a piece, and from there his current work began.  His pieces are more abstract, stating the reason he is drawn to such nonfigurative inspirations is because he is influenced from architecture, mathematics, history, nature, and other topics which are out of human control.

Pehrson works mostly with 3-D, while Coron dabbles in it, although Pehrson sticks to paper and Coron experiments with other materials. “I want to evolve personally, and we live in a three dimensional world. For most of my life I was a painter and I didn’t like the 2-D limitation,” says Pehrson, “It’s the thing that almost every painter has fought against. You are in this constant quest to create the illusion of depth and the illusion of light and shadow.” Coron’s 3D work is often commissioned by cities for public areas. She has put many installations in the Bronx, NYC, and her native France. “I begin public art commissions by researching the space and its usage. From there I look for a concept,” says Coron. “Once I have the concept I look for images and materials. I always have to work within a time frame, a budget, [have] to consider functionality and easy maintenance. It is like a puzzle with multi-level problems to solve and finding a solution that makes sense.”

Coron and Pehrson both embody excellence in their craft. For Coron, paper cutting is her way of combining storytelling, sculpture and drawing. “I start with a full material where the art is already in it, I then remove the excess material,” she states. Pehrson, however, wants to see how far he can push the boundaries of this type of work in the future. Aiming for more commissioned work, he hopes to work with new materials, different scales and more organic shapes. 

From intricately and precisely cut paper “drawings” to mathematically mind-boggling folds to a single sheet of paper, the artists in this exhibition, including Coron, Pehrson and many more, are pushing the boundaries of this sparse material far beyond the limits of its everyday purpose. The Fold, Paper, Scissors paper cutting and folding exhibition is running from May 2, 2014-August 10, 2014 at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum in the Dobson Main Gallery. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Can I get a 5,6,7,8? This Year's Dance Series Has Something for Everyone!

We are over the moon about this year’s dance series. There’s something for everyone – ballet, contemporary dance, urban fusion, and the unlikely (but so loveable) meeting of dance and radio. From the legendary Alvin Ailey Dance Theater to the hottest younger choreographers, you’ll be on the edge of your seat all season.

In Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, Monica Bill Barnes & Company and Ira Glass, host of This American Life, have been working together to combine two art forms that – as Ira puts it- “have no business being together- dance and radio.” The result is a funny, lively and heartfelt evening of dance and stories that brought down the house in its first test run at Carnegie Hall. The show includes radio interviews restaged as dance pieces, plus stories from the lives of each of the three performers. “People who like This American Life will probably like this,” says Glass, “because it’s just like the radio show, um, if you picture dancing during all the stories.”

Like ballet? On November 20, New York City-based Company Jessica Lang Dance performs in the Piper Theater. Lang, who has been called “a master of visual composition” by Dance Magazine, draws on the tradition and rigor of classical ballet technique to create well crafted, emotionally engaging works. Lang’s choreography features striking design elements such as video, props, and detailed costuming to create a stunning feast for the eyes.

In March, Arizona’s own EPIK Dance Company collaborates with cutting edge string trio Simply Three in a new work, Simply EPIK, at the Piper Theater.  EPIK mashes contemporary dance, jazz dance, and urban disciplines such as hip hop, breaking, and locking to delight and surprise audiences. The cello, bass, and violin trio that is Simply Three blend classical style with the popular songs of today. After their recent collaboration on a video for Simply Three’s version of a Janelle Monae song, we can’t wait to see an evening long pairing of these two innovative groups.

Completing the season is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a legendary company dating back to 1958. The company performs both its famed historical works by Ailey and choreography by some of today’s best talent that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience. With its virtuosic performers and emotionally gripping choreography, the Ailey Company wows audiences around the world in a celebration of joy and the human spirit.