Emerging artists buck trends, cultural representation

By Andrew Curley
Navajo Times

PHOENIX, April 24, 2014

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(Times photo – Andrew Curley)

TOP: This piece called, “Community Fabrication” is part of the “Lose Yourself In Me” exhibit at the Willo North Gallery in Phoenix.

BOTTOM: “Purple Cat” is another piece that is showcased in the “Lose Yourself In Me” exhibit at the Willo North Gallery.

Young and emerging Navajo artists tested the public waters with their works and representations in an event billed as a showcase for things new — new styles of art, music, and expression.

"I would see (the event) as part of a movement but also it's a way to develop as a human being," said Ryan Dennison, who performed that night. "We can't channel all of the other emotions that we grew up with so once we do channel it, it's through creativity, it's through art."

"Whether we write, or paint, or make music, the support for it is to be different, to be unconventional," he said.

That's how Dennison described the motivation of this one-day event held April 18 as a conclusion to a four-week exhibition of Jeff Slim's artwork at the Willo North Gallery in central Phoenix.

Slim, 28, is known for colorful paintings that incorporate geometric patterns and icons across the face or body of a subject.

The gallery where the event was hosted, a block south of Thomas at 2811 7th Avenue, was where Slim, who is originally from the Cottonwood, Ariz., showcased his exhibit called "Lose Yourself in Me."

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