Summer has been ushered in with thunderstorms and art show openings. So many, in fact, that they can't possible all be picks (openings, not thunderstorms). To remedy this problem, we've selected a few of the fun and fascinating to share. These extra picks run the gamut from technological to Stone Age, creepy dolls to heavenly glass, and contain healthy doses of the horrific, the sublime, the eye-catching.

Read on for what SFR deems the five most blogworthy visual arts openings/events this week.

Santa Fe Complex

The horror genre (movies, books) exists to teach us what noise not to investigate, when to rid yourself of a macho need to fix the problem, when  not to enter haunted houses or creepy woods and a plethora of common-sense precautions. However, the people at Santa Fe Complex have clearly not gotten the message, because they commit the most obvious violation of common-sense ever: They plan to “enliven” an enormous electronic installation known affectionately as


, at the stroke of 9 pm Friday, June 13. There will probably even be thunder and lightning, nature's way of saying something creepy is going on, but the plan is to flip the switch come hell or high water.

The bright side is that


is sure to be entertaining, perhaps even artful. Such is the case with any presentation by the Santa Fe Complex, a nonprofit venue dedicated to fostering idea exchange and innovation, no matter how wacky it gets, and the mad scientists are led by Phil Mantione, the well-known composer and artist. There are at least 15 other mad scientists – in this age, technology and monsters are born of the collective, not hatched out of a lonely maniac's mind.

Lest I get too carried away with Frankenstein references, there's more to the first anniversary of the Santa Fe Complex than recycled pop culture. There are also spoken and written word performances, food (cash bar if that's what you want) and probably a lot of excited 8-year-old-boys. It should be pure fun, the kind that comes from seeing cool stuff doing cool stuff, spiced by the titillating underlying issues – and fears – surrounding technology.

Santa Fe Complex fundraiser featuring FrankenCircuit
7 pm
Saturday, June 13


Santa Fe Complex
632 Agua Fria St.

Jennie Cooley Gallery

Sometimes it is those things that verge on the creepy, the grotesque, the frightening, that have the most power. That moment of still horror, a mental intake of breath, is when we see beauty, when we teeter on the edge of something deep and still. This is the effect of Jane Rosemont's

Plastic Relatives

, photographs of old, decaying dolls in large-as-life prints.   The photographs should be creepy: I've seen


, after all, and sometimes the mere thought of old dolls causes me to hear snippets of horror movie soundtracks. Somewhere deep in my psyche, dolls and horror are closely related, and it's just this hidden place that these photographs manage to touch.

However warped my conception of old dolls has become, Jane Rosemont is able to restore what is fascinating and moving about dolls: the human faces, aging in bursts of splintered plastic or glass, the unmoving expressions, the cutesy eyes that see too much to be truly innocent, and above all, the myth of childhood cracked and dirtied before our very eyes.  The photographs must be seen, even though it may not be comfortable - too much of our own condition can be seen in the condition of these dolls. And maybe they won't even give you nightmares. Maybe.

Plastic Relatives
Reception 5-7 pm
Friday, June 12

Through June 16

Jennie Cooley Gallery
717-D Canyon Road

Jane Sauer Gallery

Ghostly chairs, triangles and conic sections, etched in delicate glass, seem to hover above the ground, then gently reflect surrounding light, building a palace for thoughts of space and volume. This beauty is ethereal, but also incredibly durable and light as a feather. It may sound like a riddle (What is light as a feather, otherworldy, and yet durable in this world?), but really it's just the miracle of Pyrex tubes flame-worked by Brent Kee Young as part of his show




is divided into two parts, one of geometric forms simple or combined, and one of everyday objects, only composed of glass. In the latter category is a chair. It's just a chair. A glass chair, sure. Effervescent, even. But before discouragement strikes (what a let-down - he ran out of ideas) the piece's title holds a clue to how it must be approached: “Across a Crowded Room.” After viewing the simple geometries of the first


series, coming across this familiar object allows the viewer to put aside the crowding of everyday life and focus on its curves, symmetries and spaces.

We should all be so lucky as to see, for however short a while, beauty in everyday things.

Matrix Series: Light, Line...Form

Reception 5-8 pm
Friday, June 12

Through July 7

Jane Sauer Gallery
652 Canyon Road

Goldleaf Gallery

With titles such as “Don't be afraid of a little bit of pain” and “Honor this time of your life it is precious” scrawled in childlike bright colors across the body of the painting itself, Richard Kurtz' works are nothing if not arresting. Furthermore, they are often dominated by a large dark figure – he fills the entire canvas – clad in white boxers (“Champion,” says one) and what look like high-top athletic shoes. Boxing gloves may also be in evidence. The face of this man is crudely but cleverly drawn because the emotions on his face are stark and clear. The total effect seems to be one of anger carefully controlled and released in small, furious amounts.

I wouldn't dare venture a guess as to the artistic aim of these creations. While the initial impulse is to see fury on the part of the painter, the mood these pieces coney, after further investigation, may not be angry so much as tense and lively, like a coiled spring. I can, however, state that such power on a canvas – whatever it is, whatever it means – is worth braving out the tension and hostility that come with it.

The End Game

Reception 5:30-7:30 pm
Friday, June 12

Through July 6

Goldleaf Gallery
627 West Alameda

Shiprock Santa Fe

Looking at Patrick Mehaffy's work causes all of my little-girl love of horses to return, though not, of course, in the same pink pony way. I didn't understand my love then, and I don't understand this current feeling. All I can say is that this fascination is more adult. Deeper. Stronger. Better.

And I don't think I'm alone in failing to grasp the precise origin of my attachment to horses. I'm not sure anyone understands horses – if Patrick Mehaffy does, I hope viewing his artwork will let me in on the secret – but there is an undeniable fascination. Horses are symbols in all cultures, but unfortunately, depending on whom you ask, they are symbolic of anything and everything (beauty, freedom, nobility, war, agriculture) so no help there in cracking the mystery of the horse. All I can conjecture is that horses say something about early civilization, perhaps because as domesticated animals they stand between us and nature, or, as workhorses and racing horses, help us knit together societies.

Patrick Mehaffy's use of textiles and ashes in some of his works suggests that he understands the ancient, almost primitive power of the horse in our minds, but even if his pieces don't give answers, this may be a case where questions are more satisfying.

Equus Antiquus

Reception 6-8 pm
Thursday, June 11

Through July 31

Shiprock Santa Fe
53 Old Santa Fe Trail