The IDEA museum, in downtown Mesa, is opening their newest exhibition, “Sonoran Safari” to the public on Feb. 9. According to the website, “Visitors coming to Sonoran Safari will explore the artistic landscape of the world’s 11th largest desert – the only place where the famous saguaro cactus grows in the wild.” Sonoran Safari features 25 artists from Arizona, the United States, and the Czech Republic. Artworks include digital photography, pastels, ceramics, digital works, digital drawings, bronze sculptures and many more. All the way from the Czech Republic, artist Veronika Richterova created seven pieces that she has been developing for several years, different cacti made from used plastic bottles and caps.
“I find all inspiration as well as material for my artworks in the streets in yellow recycling bins where people throw plastic waste,” she said. Alongside Richterova will be photography from Mark Klett, an artist from Tempe, Arizona who has been featured for over 40 years. Four of his photographs have been taken from his collection “El Camino del Diablo” to be shown in the exhibit. “Much of my work responds to a historical precedent, either historic photographs or text or event. I’ve done a lot of work that involves making rephotographs of historic images – going back to the original locations and making new photographs in response,” Klett said.
Peggy Orbon’s pastel paintings are also going to be shown alongside Klett’s. “I paint landscapes in pastel or oil and many of them are done on location. Once you have the right equipment, there’s nothing like getting outside to paint. It’s so enjoyable to be outside trying to capture what you see in front of you,” Osborn said. “And, everything looks so much better in person than in a photograph.” Other than admiring the art, visitors have the option to create a “reflection” painting, experience what it would be like to work at a wildlife rescue center, write desert poetry along with several other hands-on activities. In his curator statement, Brian Asdell spoke of the beauty in the Sonoran Desert.
“The Sonoran Desert is one of the unique deserts in the world and contains an incredibly biodiverse ecological system – second only to the Amazon rainforest,” Asdell said. “This is mainly due to its two annual rainy seasons, the regular fall rains and summer monsoons that arrive just in time to quench the thirst of plants, animals and humans alike. This creates an extremely lush and green desert system filled with dynamic life and beauty. ”Visit http://www.ideamuseum.org/sonoran-safari.html for more information on spring camps, upcoming special events and to buy tickets to visit the Sonoran Safari at the Idea Museum.