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“Circle / Squared”
Lisa Sette Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona
Recommendation by Lynn Trimble

Tami Bahat, "The Arrangement," 2017, pigment print, 12 1/4 x 11 1/2/17 1/4 x 16 1/2"

Continuing through August 25, 2018

Descending into the semi-subterranean gallery, viewers are surrounded by the clean angles and lines that characterize architect Al Beadle’s designs. For this exhibition, the gallery adorns the interior of Beadle’s sophisticated white box with circular works that conjure thoughts of intimate telescopic encounters. Several hand-engraved glass cameos bear images of influential photographers such as Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, Imogen Cunningham, Ansel Adams and Cindy Sherman. Created by Charlotte Potter, both their subject matter and their materials, including tin and silver frames, reference the evolution of photography and ways of seeing.

Several works prompt reflection on the natural world. A small figure standing near a towering geyser of water in Liu Xiaofang’s photograph “I Remember II-01” speaks to human awe in the face of nature’s beauty and power. With “Quantum Augury” and “The Healer,” collaborators Kahn & Selesnick address the mystical ways the earth and its inhabitants are connected, making evident the peril each faces in the other’s presence. Most striking is Yao Lu’s “New Landscape Part I (06 View of waterfall with rocks and pines),” which reads as a lovely landscape painting from afar, but reveals the detritus of industrial excesses when viewed up close.

The exhibition also includes a trio of works by Tami Bahat, shown inside an intimate exhibition space set within the larger gallery. Each depicts an odd pairing of two subjects within a formal, traditional setting. A small man seated atop the lap of a woman in “The Arrangement” pricks at viewer understandings of familial and societal relationships in a delightfully unsettling way. Other featured artists include Ysabel Lemay, Mayme Kratz, Li Mingzhu, Luis González Palma, Bettina von Zwehl and Xawery Wolski. Collectively, these works inspire a deeper understanding of time. Like the circular dial of a precision timepiece, “Circle/Squared” carries viewers forward from past to present, ever mindful of what has come before yet open to a future being made from every present moment.

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