Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists
Sep 11, 2021 - Jan 23, 2022
Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists presents new work by artists under, or near, the age of 30 who are based in Phoenix, Arizona. The works in this exhibition speak to the resilience and determination of a new generation of artists who expose the complexities of becoming within the rapidly evolving ethos of today. This exhibition […]
Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists presents new work by artists under, or near, the age of 30 who are based in Phoenix, Arizona. The works in this exhibition speak to the resilience and determination of a new generation of artists who expose the complexities of becoming within the rapidly evolving ethos of today. This exhibition presents painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and performance that addresses a variety of topics including marginalized communities, social justice, environmental degradation, exploration of sexuality, and reckoning with personal narratives.
Based in the fifth largest city in the United States, the artists have come to this desert-bound metropolis by birth, for school, or as a refugee. While the artists are part of a globalized art world, the artworks presented are products of experience rooted in the U.S. Southwest. Typically portrayed from the outside through the romanticization of the desert and “good old boy” libertarianism, in actuality Arizona is in a constant state of becoming with its rapid population growth, position on the US-Mexico border, and transition to a blue state during the 2020 presidential election. Millennials, now roughly between the ages of 20 and 40 years old, are transitioning from their youthful stereotypes into adulthood. The maturing generation advocates for change and continues to make progress as idealistic reformers. In looking at artwork made by artists in the earlier half of this generation, elements of collaboration, non-normative ideologies, healing, safety, and resistance to the status quo are prevalent.
Forever Becoming offers a glimpse at the emerging artistic talent in and around Phoenix, Arizona. Artists include Mia B. Adams, Merryn Omotayo Alaka, Vincent Chung, Steffi Faircloth, Sam Fresquez, Estephania González, Lena Klett, Cydnei Mallory, Brianna Noble, Lily Reeves, and Papay Solomon. Organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and curated by Lauren R. O’Connell, curator of contemporary art. Support for this exhibition has been provided by Peter Boris and The Something Machine, Lisa Sette Gallery, Steven Zevitas Gallery, and Mandy and Jeff Lothner.
Mia B. Adams
Mia B. Adams (United States, b. 1997) is a Phoenix-born artist that currently resides in Arizona. Adams holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus in Intermedia from Arizona State University. Adams is known for her multimedia approach to addressing interconnections between art and social justice. Her work is in response to ongoing social and political issues and resides as a visual timestamp of the struggles people of color continue to face in contemporary society.
Merryn Omotayo Alaka
Merryn Omotayo Alaka (United States, b. 1997) is Phoenix based multi-media artist. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking from Arizona State University. Her work, inspired by both West African textiles and Black feminism, includes lithographs, graphic textile design, jewelry, and large-scale sculptures. Alaka assesses the material culture of physical objects such as family heirlooms, jewelry, hair, and fabric as a way to address subjective cultural and racial perspectives.
Vincent Chung (United States, b. 1991) is a New York-born Phoenix-based artist. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University. Chung’s work aims to capture the human condition by exploring the nature of existence, the examination of the imperfect, and the mercurial nature of emotions. His multi-dimensional works reside at the intersection of traditional methods and contemporary forms, which he examines by confronting the preciousness that is often associated with traditional painting.
Steffi Faircloth (United States, b. 1997) is a Phoenix-based multimedia artist who received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography at Arizona State University. Working with video, sound, and photography, Faircloth dissects aspects of growing up in the US-Mexico Bordertown of Nogales, Arizona. Her work specifically looks at youth and Latinx cultures, and the irony of pop culture, in a bi-national community.
Sam Frésquez (United States, b. 1996) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Phoenix, Arizona. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Intermedia Art from Arizona State University. Frésquez uses sculpture and performance to investigate how and why information is passed from one generation to the next. She often uses gendered and historically significant objects, actions, and places to do so.
Estephania González (United States, b. 1989) is a Phoenix-based multimedia artist from the Midwest. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Intermedia from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance Art and Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Northern Iowa. Through the use of video, installation, performance, and writing, she explores concepts of spacetime and cosmologies from both physics and indigenous narratives, and how they intersect with personal identity.
Lena Klett (United States, b. 1991) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Phoenix, Arizona. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiber from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fiber and Art History from Kansas City Art Institute. Her drawings, sculptures, and videos are material evidence from the artists process of tracing, transcribing, dissecting, re-assembling, and transforming information about natural objects and ecologies.
Cydnei Mallory (United States, b. 1991) is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Phoenix Arizona. She received her Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pennsylvania State University. Interested in materiality, Mallory uses everything from cast metals, rope, and basic fabrics, to hairnets, silicone, and hair. Combining traditional and non-traditional practices in her work, Mallory uses the body as a reference to explore issues surrounding stereotyped ideas of gender, sexuality, and class.
Brianna Noble (United States, b. 1994) is a Phoenix-based able-bodied Black, Latinx surviving in a predominantly urban white community. This position inevitably brings context to the artist’s work, reinforcing that living in a Black body in 2021 is political in nature. Noble’s paintings use the body to question notions of sexuality and gender defined by society, and to provoke a new understanding of humanity.
Lily Reeves (United States, b. 1991) is a sculptural light and installation artist based in Phoenix, Arizona. She received her Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University. Reeves’ work encourages emotional and physical well-being through a holistic lens of personal, societal, and environmental healing. She uses light, space, immersive installations, and audience-participation as tools to address spiritual chasms within contemporary culture.
Papay Solomon (Liberia/Guinea/United States, b. 1993) is a hyperrealist figurative painter based in Phoenix, Arizona. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Arizona State University. The Liberian-American artist lives between two worlds: his adopted home in America and that of his African heritage. Solomon paints hyperrealist figures, with traces of non finito and color field qualities, to amplify stories and experiences of the African diaspora.
Virtual Artist Panel: Forever Becoming
Thursday, September 30, 2021, 7 p.m. (MST/AZ)
Related Press Releases
Forever Becoming in the Press
Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists was featured in Southwest Contemporary, Oct. 5, 2021.
Scottsdale Progress interviewed curator Lauren R. O’Connell about Forever Becoming, Sept. 26, 2021.
KJZZ “The Show” interviewed curator Lauren R. O’Connell and artist Estephania González on September 20, 2021.
LUXE Interiors + Design included Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists in its “SCENE” section, September 2021 Issue. PDF.
Thrillist mentioned Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists in a roundup “9 Actually Fun Things to Do in Phoenix This Weekend,” September 2021.
Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists mentioned in Phoenix New Times roundup “Phoenix Zine Fest is Going Virtual — Plus More Metro Phoenix Arts News,” August 2021.
Modern Luxury Scottsdale magazine included Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists in a roundup of “4 Must-See Art Exhibits,” September 2021 issue.