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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Art is in the air this Labor Day

Expand your normative week-ending horizons this Saturday night by taking a walk.

Commencing Saturday, Sept. 5, Central Tucson Gallery Associations’ participating museums, storefronts and galleries will be opening its doors in the first of this season’s First Saturday Art Walks. An annual event running September through June, this weekend premiers with nearly 20 open studios, several new artists and a number of opening receptions. It’s an enriching meander through downtown Tucson, and for those who aren’t self-identifying aficionados of visual discourse, there’s plenty of free wine tasting and refreshments to appease you. For an optimal art promenading experience, here are some of the must see shows:

Gallery Azul and Artist Studio Cooperative (439 S. 6th Ave., Suite 179, southwest corner of Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue)

The formal exhibition space of Artist Studio Cooperative, a collectively run, shared working environment operated by seven Tucson artists, Gallery Azul is a more contemporary, local art-viewing experience. Though it’s a relatively small gallery space, the relation of the gallery to the studios offers viewers a look at new work, works in progress and the opportunity to speak with collective members. This Saturday, Gallery Azul presents “Abstract Space,” which will show starting Aug. 1 and run until Sept. 30. It will feature the latest Artist Studio Cooperative members, as well as recent UA BFA Studio Art graduates Paige Blain and Tori Oswald. Featuring several large-scale paintings on various geometric canvases,the work of Blain and Oswald is both graphic and evocative. Oswald in particular has mastered a visual style reminiscent of Op-Art and Dan Flavin.

Artist reception: Sept. 5th, from 6-9 p.m.

Moen Mason Gallery (222 E. 6th St.)

Tucson’s premier contemporary art gallery, Moen Mason Gallery is an aesthetically challenging and sensorially pleasing viewing experience. Known for exhibiting artists who are both cutting-edge and internationally recognized, Moen Mason is a must see for their recent exhibition “BACKTRACK: Group Exhibition and Narratives on Race,” showing through Oct. 15th and featuring big name artists such as Jonathan Hobin, Susan Copich, and E.J. Brown. Modeled after a gallery one might encounter in Los Angeles, Moen Mason offers a variety of mediums and progressive methods of viewing art work.

Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery (218 E. 6th St.)

Tucson’s only Latino-based, contemporary, nonprofit, cooperative art gallery and workshop, Raices Taller is also a monolithic exhibition space, in terms of Tucson-sized galleries. Run by a team of both younger and older artists as well as patrons in the community, the vibe at Raices is eclectic yet organized. This is the ideal gallery for seeing a wide breadth of artists, mediums and experimental works, sourced both locally and internationally. Notably, Raices is one of only a few galleries downtown that frequently exhibits the works of semi-professional and up-and-coming artists.

Contreras Gallery & Jewelry (110 E. 6th St.)

Located in the historic Warehouse Arts District, Contreras Gallery & Jewelry, run by husband and wife artists Neda Contreras and E. Michael Contreras, is an open fine art studio and gallery space. Exhibiting work that is both contemporary and regionally specific, Contreras Gallery & Jewelry offers particularly well-curated exhibitions of culturally relevant artworks in a variety of mediums. Opening this Saturday is the “Artwork of Mykl Wells and Tom Baumgartner,” running from Sept. 5 to Sept. 26. Painters Baumgartner and Wells both use natural motifs and animal metaphors within their work.

Artists reception: Sept. 5, from 6-9 p.m.

Exploded View ART microCINEMA MUSIC (197 E. Toole Ave.)

Founded in 2013, Exploded View is a storefront microcinema and art space—essentially a small theatre and art environment. One of a kind in Tucson, Exploded View hosts a variety of screenings of alternative films, avant-garde theatre works, and contemporary and historical visual, sonic and film art. Most of the work exhibited is experimental and challenging; it is perhaps one of the best locales in downtown Tucson for getting a taste of the contemporary multimedia landscape.

Follow Audrey Molloy on Twitter.

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