Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Forever Becoming: Young Phoenix Artists
Text + Images Courtesy of Scottsdale Arts

Above, top left: Cydnei Mallory, Six Evolve VI, 2021. Wood, T-shirtrope, dimensions variable. Top right: Merryn Omotayo Alaka, Lead With Your Looks, 2021. Bottom: Sam Fresquez, The Meet Cute, 2021. Video; color, sound; 11 minutes.

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.

AboveMia B. Adams, Unruly, 2021. Flat irons, dimensions vary.

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.

 Left: Steffi Faircloth, Metallix Tazos, 2021. Laser printed aluminum Tazo discs, polyurethane, 11 x 8.5 inches overall. Above: Vincent Chung, bitter wind to hold my shaky hand, 2021. Acrylic, olive oil, oil stick, dirt, paint spray, neon and thread on canvas, 49 x 52 inches.

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.

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