“People, Places + Pop” a Polaroid exhibit by Steve Hanson

Steve Hanson has bedecked the walls of Practical Art in fun and unique polaroids for his featured show, People, Places + Pop. Visit PA throughout the month of September to glimpse his creative genius on display, and take a polaroid for yourself!

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It’s an unfortunate truth that polaroid pictures are a dying pastime. The digital world has virtually extinguished the use of polaroid film– but it’s not because we’ve stopped taking pictures. In fact,  it
has been estimated that more photographs are taken each year than the entire history of analogue photography! We are constantly uploading them to our computers, phones, and social media sites, but we rarely print them and hold them in our hands. We are working to change that this month at Practical Art! As Steve says, “In many ways the Polaroid format offers us the best of both the old and the new, the nostalgia of having printed photographs and the instant gratification of getting a result right away. Polaroids allow us to capture that magical moment on the spot and get a touchable photo. Each Polaroid becomes a unique, one-of-a-kind physical photograph.”

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Truer words could not be said about Steve’ photos, currently hanging at Practical Art. His images are one-of-a-kind physical snapshots of memorable moments. They are life on display. Come by today to see his work and take part in the movement to bring back polaroid photos by snapping your own unique piece of art! We can’t wait to see you there!

Artist Reception:
Third Friday, September 16th, from 6-9
Exhibition:
September 1-30

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“Hare” works by Christy Puetz

“The rabbits mingled naturally. They did not talk for talking’s sake, in the artificial manner that human beings – and sometimes even their dogs and cats – do. But this did not mean that they were not communicating; merely that they were not communicating by talking.”

Richard Adams, Watership Down

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Rabbits. Rabbits will indeed communicate with you this month, if you come by Practical Art to view our latest show, “Hare.” Christy Puetz has out done herself with her whimsical and thought-provoking sculptures. Her rabbits will make you laugh, make you ask questions, make you frown, make you smile– her rabbits will make you feel.

Inspired by the rabbits of Watership Down, Christy has built her works using fiber art covered in combinations of tactile materials, like glass beads and repurposed or up-cycled items. The decorative outer layer represents a unique ‘skin,’ the pattern of which tells (or emphasizes) the story of the piece.  Christy explains her methods, saying, “I use absurdity, beauty, and humor to comment on issues in a way that makes difficult subjects more approachable– issues like how the history of disease has shaped the world, how humans affect animal habitat, and the mysteries of human behavior.”

To find out more about her art, we asked Christy to answer a few questions about the show. Here is what she had to say:

What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

I, first, envision the storyline for each piece and how the pose should look.  Then I create the pattern for forms, and hand construct them.  Last, I complete the glass bead embroidery (each bead is sewn on a few at a time).

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What inspired your work for the show?

I have wanted to do a show of all rabbits for a long time– their ears and symbolism intrigue me.  I was also inspired by the novel by Richard Adams, titled Watership Down, and the animate film by the same name.  I really wanted to capture particular emotions in both the pose and the bead pattern for each piece.

What is your favorite part about making art?

Making art is like mind yoga to me, it is an outlet for my energy.  I have so many ideas, the slow and repetitive process helps me to relax.  

Do you have a favorite piece in the show? If so, what is it?

I have two:  Dandelion and Irma.  Dandelion was the first of the series, finishing this piece inspired me to do more.  Irma was inspired by a friend that continues to influence my life.

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If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

tactile, sentimental, symbolic, humorous, beautiful

 

Meet Christy’s rabbits throughout the month of August, here at Practical Art. Come by this Friday night, August 5th from 7:00-9:00 for a special artist’s reception, and meet Christy for yourself. We can’t wait to see you there!


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“Support: something that holds up structure” works by Molly Koehn

Beginning July 1st, Practical Art will feature the amazing work of local artist, Molly Koehn. Come by and explore the relationship between humans and nature in her show, “Support: something that holds up structure.” Attend our Artist’s reception on Friday, July 1st, from 7:00-9:00pm, and meet the artist herself!

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We asked Molly to give us some insider information about her pieces, and she was happy to give oblige:

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  1. What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

Many of my pieces use a process called eco-printing. It is a natural dye process that uses leaves to create a print on the fabric. The leaves are bundled up in fabric and steamed for an hour. The color from the leaves transfers to the fabric. I also use embroidery, weaving, and drawing.

  1. Is there a theme to your show? If so, what is it?

This work is looking at natural systems and the role humans play in those systems. These pieces are also looking at the idea of support. In these systems, is nature supporting us or are we supporting nature? And I definitely acknowledge that we are part of nature, but I think in general, humans separate themselves from nature.

  1. What inspired your work for the show?

Moving to the valley 2 years ago has been a huge inspiration. The greater metropolitan area is just so bizarre to me in how different it is from the desert surrounding. Arizona in general amazes me. Down here there’s cactus and shrubs everywhere, but up north it’s all pine trees and snow! I love the diversity of climates and vegetation. I see something new and interesting almost everyday. I could probably live here for the rest of my life and stay consistently amazed.  

  1. What is your favorite part about making art?

That’s a tough question. I love the general process of making—using my hands to create. I just love working hard and getting dirty.

  1. Do you have a favorite piece in the show? If so, what is it?

I’m partial to my maggot embroideries. There is something so satisfying about the play between something gross and beautiful at the same time.

  1. If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

Maggots, leaves, landscape, support, systems.  

  1. What other artists (any local?) inspire you?

I find a lot of inspiration from land artists, specifically Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt. I’m also the biggest Patricia Sannit fan in the world.

  1. What do you want your viewers to know about you as an artist?

I’m awesome.

We can’t wait to see you at Practical Art on First Friday, and throughout the month of July!

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“We can all be free…” works by Lara Plecas

 

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When you explore the works of Lara Plecas, you may find it hard to believe that she is a self-taught painter, originally trained as a dancer. However, her expressive paintings seem to evoke a rhythm, perhaps connected with this history. This month Practical Art is excited to host her latest collection in the show, We Can All Be Free…” Her work will be displayed throughout April, with an artist’s reception held First Friday, April 1, 2016, from 7:00-9:00pm.

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Plecas’s inspirational works typically explore themes of place, and she explains in her blog that, “we have a deep and personal connection with the places where we visit and live, as well as the experiences that may have endured there.” The pieces for this show expand upon this subject by exploring place and its connection to freedom. It is a series inspired by an article from Wired entitled, “The Amazing Art on These Communist-Era Houses Was a Rebellion Back Then.” It is an editorial describing an artistic movement of freedom of expression during a time of “homogeneous, community-centric thinking.” 

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We asked Plecas to give us some additional insight about this month’s extraordinary show:

Q. How would you describe the theme of this particular show?

A. This series really explores freedom and the struggles we overcome to find peace of mind.

Q. If you had to describe your show in 5 words or less, what words would you use?

A. Minimal,  bauhaus, geometric, color, folkart

Q. What processes/materials did you use to create the pieces?

A. In all of the work in my show I used oil paint and encaustic medium to create the imagery. It was the first time however that I used powdered pigment when mixing my colors, it has so much more depth to the color.

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Q. Do you have a favorite piece in the show? If so, what is it?

A. Yes, the tree piece is my favorite piece in this series. It symbolizes the displacement of my family when they left their homeland Lithuania during WWII.  They were displaced for five years until they immigrated to the U.S.

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   “Displaced/Relocation”, encaustic on panel

Q. What other artists (any local?) inspire you?

A. Agnes Martin, Bridget Riley, Betsy Eby

Q. What is your favorite part about making art?

A. I really enjoy the process of painting and watching my ideas evolve in the studio. It is a meditation, and it involves clearing your mind in order to let the flow happen.

To find out more about this historically inspired show, visit with Plecas at Practical Art, April 1, 2016, from 7:00-9:00pm. We can’t wait to see you there!

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“Curious Oddities” by Jordan Alexander Thomas

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Lean in my darlings, for with a flicker and a blink,
All is not what it seems…

Hidden within ordinary sight are extraordinary passages
Where the gears of time do not always wind forward.
There lies within these numinous objects of power
The crossroads of time and space.
Where the robot minds of tomorrow
Tinker with the wizards of yesteryear.
Where the planets and moons of faraway lands
Rest neatly in the palm of your hand.

We invite you to turn the brass knob.
Walk through the doorways of tomorrow, yesterday, and someday
To peer into the pockets of time, space, and curiosity.
Ashley Wood


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“Curious Oddities” by Jordan Alexander Thomas
Exhibition: October 1-31
Reception for the Artist: First Friday Oct 2nd, from 7-9

“Walking Stories” by Christopher Jagmin

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This Friday, ignite your senses and journey through Christopher Jagmin’s “Walking Stories.”

Jagmin is a self-proclaimed (not-very discriminating) collector of images– images he finds amidst the clutter and noise of our digital world. We are continuously bombarded by visual explosions, sound bites, advertisements, and talking points that excite and stimulate our senses. These messages clatter and clang around us, constantly shifting. What at first seems important and interesting, however, can soon leave us feeling vulnerable, confused, and uninformed. Jagmin makes sense of these extremes by seeking out the visual pieces that resonate with him, deconstructing them, and then reconstructing them to reveal freeze-framed moments in time. His pieces become stories in their own right.

harborBy combining fragmented bits of iconic images and symbols, historical and current events, graphic patterns, and advertising marks, Jagmin creates art that visualizes what it means to live in the moment. His artwork speaks to the world of today– highlighting the darkness with the light. These personal, messy epiphanies are packed with memories, history, triumph, sadness, color, beauty, decay, energy, humor, and urgency.  Jagmin has taken the often-overwhelming chaos that surrounds the day-to-day and has edited it down to reveal new insights of our world.

Jagmin would like every viewer of his work to similarly deconstruct the meaning and apply his images to their own reality. Visit Practical Art Friday night and come to your own conclusions about each unique masterpiece, or take one home for yourself.

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“Walking Stories” by Christopher Jagmin

Exhibition: September 1st-30th, 2015

Opening Reception Friday, September 4th, 7:00-9:00 

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“Relics” – The Art of John Ryszka II

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Award-winning artist John Ryszka II graces our walls for the second time with his newest series of striking glass forms titled, “Relics”.

Most of the works peer out at the viewer from shadow boxes: they’re small faces– whole visages, an assemblage of multiple parts, or isolated features– that hover against a dark background, and tell their own stories through the expressiveness of their eyes… or eye, as some more cyclopsian pieces would have it.  “The eyes are the real key to depicting the emotion behind any face,” says Ryszka.  “I enjoy trying to put an entire story into the curve of an eyelid.”

It’s his understanding of the existence of untold tales behind the faces of strangers that makes his support of Eve’s Place especially resonant. Eve’s Place is a local organization that has provided innovative and empowerment-based programs to victims of domestic abuse for over 10 years. Ryszka created a special piece for this show, for the faces of Eve’s Place, called, “Eve’s Choice”*.

Proceeds from the sale of this dynamic work go directly to support Eve’s Place and their programming.

Join us for the reception this Friday, October 10th, 7-9pm, to hear from John about his process and inspiration, and to find out more about Eve’s Place and your next chance to support them at Practical Art‘s Fourth Friday Charity Pie Night.

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*From the wall text:

The beautiful bird inside is looking down and away from the door not
quite willing to confront the hard choice of staying or leaving.

The cage is black and in the shape of a heart. Black because it is the
color that absorbs all the light that comes in contact with it and gives
nothing back. The shape of a heart represents love. Love of the abuser
and the person they once were in better times in the memories of
the victim. The Cage is a symbol of lost freedom, subjugation, and
persecution. The cage, the shape, and the color are all representative
of the abuser.

The door is open. From the birds perspective the open door presents
an exit that can be taken at any time once the choice has been made.
From the outside the open door suggests the threshold of freedom
and new beginnings.

The 5 flying birds represent others that have made the same choice
and that can help give guidance and support. The birds are examples
of freedom. The odd number implies that there is room for more and
not everyone is paired.”

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