Cheap Thrills

IT DON'T COST A THING TO LOOK AT THE PRETTY ART. Galleries are in the business, for the most part, of selling the art they hang on the wall. And artists love to have their work hover over the couch of someone who shelled out the cash.

But, whether you're buying or just browsing, a gallery opening is still a good way to see who's making what, determine where our aesthetic tastes lean and maybe dream a little. Who knows--your cheap date to view art this Friday could turn into a lifetime commitment to supporting and meeting a real live artist. And in some cases, the art isn't an object to be purchased, but an experience to view.

Openings on Friday, Feb. 28, start at 5:30 p.m. at the Joseph Gross Gallery located on the UA campus, just east of Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue in the arts courtyard. Wake Up Little Susie: Pregnancy and Power Before Roe v. Wade is an installation depicting the arena of danger in which fertile women lived in the decades before abortion was legal. The traveling show deals with race, pregnancy, maternity homes, illegal abortions, the courts and law enforcement. It's a collaboration between sculptors Cathleen Meadows and Kathy Hutton with collage artist Kay Obering and takes the form of a life-sized chess board. Each giant chess piece, made of wood and wire, encloses a collection of found objects that identify its role in the game. On the wall hang 19 placards describing the board pieces, using a collage of documentary images and text.

Part sculpture, part film stills, part installation, the show is joined by Warnings featuring feminist artist Lisa Link's series of computer photomontages and video that explore issues of reproductive health. You'll see why her gritty, propaganda-style posters draw chilling comparisons between the reproductive rights debates in America to those of Nazi Germany atrocities in the earlier part of the century.

The reception goes until 7 p.m. and the show continues through April 3. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays until 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. Call the gallery at 626-4215 for more information.

At 6 p.m. at Metroform Limited, 27 N. Stone Ave. near Congress Street, the photographic art gallery celebrates its third anniversary. The featured artist is Maggie Taylor, whose images are created not with a camera but with a computer and a flatbed scanner. By placing objects directly on the glass top of the scanner, she's able to create a digital image that magically upholds photographic qualities. The result is a dark and murky image spit out of her desktop printer.

The reception goes until 9 p.m. and her work hangs until March 28. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call Metroform with questions at 882-6606.

Also starting at 6 p.m. is a reception for Michael Cajero, whose work is installed at Muse Gallery inside Tucson's Home for the Arts at 516 N. Fifth Ave. Cajero's sculpture installation, Diana, is informed by the mythical figure Diana the Huntress with her dog. Gravity doesn't exist in their world. With papier-maché, shredded paper and materials found in trash heaps at office buildings where the cardboard once used to pack fragile items, Cajero molds his art. The ephemeral and fantastical sculptures look more like abstract expressionist paintings come alive. In one piece, Diana and the dog are caught in mid-air: she's got her back arched, reaching for an arrow while the dog violently lunges downward in attack.

The reception goes until 8 p.m. and Cajero's work can be viewed through April 11. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call Muse for details at 903-0918.

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