Kate Breakey, a revered artist who lives in the desert outside Tucson, is showing new pieces inspired by birds. This über-creative artist has photographed birds' nests, printed the images on silk, and then colored and stitched them by hand. She's also made prints in the style of old naturalist drawings and hand-colored photos of quail eggs.
Keith Carter, a well-known Texas photographer deemed the "poet of the ordinary" by the L.A. Times, has a new suite of pictures of daily life. A third photog, Susan Burnstine, from LA, makes her own film cameras to capture dreamy images of the time between sleep and waking.
The tiny pop-up gallery introduces Tucsonans to Pentti Sammallahti, a Finnish photographer who joyfully travels the world making unusual images of animals in the landscape.
The show ends Jan. 11, but there will be plenty of opportunities to visit over the holidays. Etherton is closed on Christmas and New Year's Day, but otherwise sticks to its usual schedule, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. 135 S. Sixth Ave., 624-7370, ethertongallery.com.
In fact, hardworking arts staffers are keeping plenty of galleries and museums open all over town, giving locals and their holiday guests a chance to dip into Tucson's rich art scene. All the venues are closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day but most open other days those weeks. (Call first even they're scheduled to be open.) Here's a quick look at just a few of the venues; they're free unless otherwise noted.
The new show at the Center for Creative Photography, The Qualities of LIGHT: The Story of a Pioneering New York City Photography Gallery, tells the story of a pivotal art space in the history of photography.
LIGHT Gallery, active from 1971 to 1987, was one of the first entirely devoted to photography. Its artists, including Harry Callahan, Frederick Sommer, Paul Strand, Robert Mapplethorpe and Garry Winogrand, are now legendary; their works will be on view. Through May 30; 9 to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day. 1030 N. Olive Road.; 621-7968; ccp.arizona.edu.
At the Tucson Museum of Art, the winter show The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscapes of the American West, is full of snow-capped mountains in art works old and new, dating from the 19th century to the 21st. Kudos to western art curator Christine Brindza for reeling in a large suite of landscape paintings by Thomas Moran (1837-1926), a painter of the western sublime who practically invented the genre.
Other biggies include painter Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), photographer Ansel Adams and the acclaimed contemporary Tohono O'odham artist Terrol Dew Johnson. Through Feb. 9. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; extended hours until 8 p.m. the first Thursday of the month. Closed Christmas and New Year's. $7 to $12; free for kids under 12, military and members; free for all on First Thursday evenings; free for Arizona and Sonora residents the first Sunday of the month (Jan. 5 and Feb. 2), free for all on First Thursday evenings. 140 N. Main Ave., 624-2333; tucsonmuseumofart.org.
Glass master Tom Philabaum is no longer blowing glass at Philabaum Glass Art Gallery but he's delving into new techniques, including painting on glass. Forty-five other artists from around the country show their own glittering glass works in an array of colors. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Closes at 2 p.m. on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. Closed Dec. 25 and 26, and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. 711 S. Sixth Ave. 884-7404; philabaumglass.com.
Over in the warehouse arts district, the non-profit Raices Taller 222Art Gallery and Workshop has put together Regalitos (Spanish for "little gifts"), a small-works show that's a mix of paintings, sculptures, photos and mixed-media pieces by dozens of artists. Artist Zach John Lee made a charming series of tiny saguaros at different times of day, in ink and watercolor on cut paper on wood panel. Each of the three cacti is a different color: "Dawn" is green; "Noon" is red hot; and "Twilight is evening blue. Through Jan. 4; 1 to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday. 218 E. Sixth St. 881-5335; raicestaller222.com.
Untitled Gallery, a newish collective run by artists in the Steinfeld Warehouse Community Arts Center, aims "to excite art lovers and collectors with monthly curated rotations of art and new works." Their Small Works features work by Untitled's seven member artists and 49 invited artists. Paul Fitzgerald's contribution, the ink-and-charcoal "French Twist," is just 6 inches by 7 ½. Through Jan. 12. Open 1 to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon to 5 Saturday and Sunday. 101 W. Sixth St., suite 121. Untitledgallerytucson.com.
The popular holiday exhibition Milagros (Spanish for "miracles") is staged each year by Contreras Gallery. The contemporary ex votos and retablos hearken back to the Mexican religious paintings that beg saints for favors as well as the subsequent paintings that give thanks for answered prayers. Some 22 artists fill the walls; Neda Contreras, gallery co-owner, is a favorite. Her small oils always set the miracles in well-loved Tucson settings. This year, her "San Juan Day, the Legend," pictures the rituals along the Santa Cruz River that beseech St. John the Baptist to bring the rain. In the background, the A on A Mountain shines brightly.
Through Jan. 31. 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday. Closed Christmas and New Year's. Call to check schedule for other days in Christmas and New Year's weeks. 110 E. Sixth St. 398-6557; contrerashousefineart.com.
Up on the northwest side, Tohono Chul Park delivers double delights. The acres of desert gardens outside entice visitors to meander among the cacti beneath dramatic winter skies. Inside, the show Rancho Linda Vista takes a new look at the beloved artist colony outside Oracle. Now 52 years old, the community has nurtured an impressive number of influential Tucson artists—the show features Joy Fox, Bruce McGrew, James G. Davis, Charles Littler, Judith Stewart, Pat Dolan and others, as well as second-generation artists, including Selina Littler, Emily Stern Düwel and Turner Davis, the now grown children of the first wave.
A companion exhibition celebrates lovely ink drawings of the ranch created by Tucson artist Jim Waid during a RLV residency.
Through Feb. 5. Grounds open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Exhibit House is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. On Christmas Eve, the grounds and buildings close at 3 p.m. and remain closed on Christmas Day. Likewise on New Year's Eve, everything closes at 3 p.m. and remains closed through New Year's Day. 7366 Paseo del Norte; 742-6455; tohonochul.org. $6 to $15. Free for kids under 5 and members.