Art Walk

Take A Stroll Through Artistic Sensibilities.

By Margaret Regan

IT MAY BE that my judgment was skewed by my escort, a fourth grader deeply immersed in the space unit at school, but Art Walk last week tended toward the celestial. Consider the evidence:

At Central Arts Collective, 188 E. Broadway, Erica Swadley had a roomful of works, Soul Transports, that celebrated the bonds between the earth and the heavens. Dangling from the ceiling was her "As Above," a round painting in sky blues; tethered to it were floating white paper figures--angels? Ronald Mayo's robust collages were full of fine pencil drawings, paint, glued papers and judiciously placed metal tools. An untitled 1995 work chronicled the phases of the moon; so did "Mudra II and III," which also had the advantage of astronomical signs on circular graph paper and some beautifully rendered hands. Mayo came crashing back to earth, though, in a rather silly installation, which featured, among other unlovely earthbound things, old underpants.

Review Over at Dinnerware, 135 E. Congress St., painter Monica Jost had joined forces with her son Conor, age 6, for a series of cheerful mixed-media collages featuring such child-friendly themes as suns and skies. Jost went out on her own for "Space Mother and Child," a portrait of a shiny robot mother and a grinning blue child standing amidst an explosion of constellations, planets and flying saucers. Painter Laura LaFave got in on the space act too, expanding her usual repertoire of gigantic anthropomorphic figures in black and white to include, in "Push," what looked like a starry universe and a female figure laboriously pulling on the sun.

Linda Caputo turned in a new set of her wonderfully appealing mixed-media paintings. Tiny but intensely colored, Caputo's work treads the line between drawing and painting, between abstraction and figuration, with hints here and there of architecture. It would be a stretch to say that her alluring spaces, in such works as the rainbow-colored "Nyubu" or the bright yellow "Routh," were inspired by the expanses of the universe--but with galaxies on our brains, we made the claim anyway.

Raw Gallery, 43 S. Sixth Ave., put a halt to our ethereal explorations. A dynamic four-man show of drawing and sculpture turned its attention to our own planet. Curt Brill's expert pedestal bronzes of human figures resonated with Dustin Leavitt's erotically charged drawings of tense, naked adults. Paul Mirocha, best known as an illustrator, brought his usual deft plants to art-gallery size in three drawings. On the opposite wall, Rhod Lauffer had a series of fantastical landscapes, fine pencil works generated by the artist's inclination toward "automatic drawing." TW

Art Walk is a collective enterprise of downtown galleries and the Tucson Arts District Partnership. Participating galleries open their doors on Thursday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information call 624-9977.

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