Banned at the Herberger: Mike Ford and Ronnie Ray Mendez with New Work by Lisa Albinger
February 7-31, 2014
In March, R. Pela Contemporary Art presents Banned at the Herberger: Mike Ford and Ronnie Ray Mendez with New Work by Lisa Albinger. This exhibit, featuring work by Ford and Mendez that was part of a controversial, canceled show scheduled for last September at the Herberger Theater Center Art Gallery, is making its long-awaited debut.
Mike Ford’s photographs of himself with his mother, both garishly made up as hags, changed curator Robrt Pela’s opinion of photographic art. It also led to the Herberger gallery unceremoniously canceling this exhibit last fall. The cancellation received national media attention, and the Herberger gallery was publicly reprimanded by the National Coalition Against Censorship.
“Censorship is ridiculous, and I’m glad that mess is all behind us,” Pela says. “Now, we can get on to the business of admiring this fine artwork by these talented artists.”
Pela doesn’t typically show photography, he says. “But Mike Ford’s photographs, about his relationship with his mother who has Alzheimer’s disease, have such depth—there’s sadness, and camp, and real emotion. I had to share them.”
Ronnie Ray Mendez, who’s made a name for himself in the fine art world of Los Angeles, has recently arrived in Phoenix. “His drawings bridge a gap between realism and surrealism by combining human anatomy with animal life,” Pela says. “He’s illustrating that line between reason and emotion.”
Pela will also exhibit new work by local painter Lisa Albinger, who was not among the artists in the original “banned” exhibit. Her paintings depict beguiling, half-human beings, some of whom are shown wearing a corrective back brace.
“My recent work reflects my life with scoliosis,” she says, “and the four years I spent wearing my back brace as an adolescent. This work portrays the cage I felt I was in and the continuous effects of scoliosis, like recent numbing of my arms, that will shadow the remainder of my days.”
Banned at the Herberger will open with an artist reception on Friday, March 7, and will be on display through March 31. The exhibit will also be on display during Art Detour weekend, March 8 and 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A closing reception will take place on Friday, March 21 from 6 till 9 p.m. R. Pela Contemporary Art, located at 335 West McDowell Road in Phoenix, is also open by appointment by calling 602-320-8445.
Call to Artists: Mom! A May Meditation on the Mother
Where: R. Pela Contemporary Art, 335 West McDowell Road, Phoenix, Arizona
When: May 2 through 30, 2014
Application Deadline: April 10, 2014
R. Pela Contemporary Art invites artists to submit work to this juried group show that’s about more than just portraits of mothers (although those are very welcome, too). Straightforward, reverent, irreverent, warm-hearted, angry… So long as it’s somehow related to moms or motherhood, our jury wants to see your artwork. Accepted artwork includes 2D works and 3D works, and will be on display through the month of May at R. Pela Contemporary Art in downtown Phoenix.
Application fee: $25. Fees may be paid via PayPal (link below) or by check, mailed to 707 W. Willetta St., Phoenix AZ 85007.
Artists will be notified by email by April 12, 2014. Work accepted must be wired and ready to hang.
R. Pela Contemporary Art retains 40% commission from all pieces sold.
Your application should include the following:
1. Email submission of files in jpg format, limited to 10 images of up to five different artworks.
2. Separate text file (MS Word preferred) with your contact info; the title of each artwork; its size (HxWxD), media, and price.
Send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org