file photo

By Laura Latzko | February 3, 2021

Artist Susan H. Paige often explores spiritual topics in her work.

This month, she’s teaming with other local artists to host “Women and Spirituality” from February 6 to February 27 in her Paige Artists Studio at the OneOhOne Gallery in Mesa. An open house and artist reception is 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, February 6.

Along with work by Paige, the exhibition will have pieces from Elvie Becker, Diane Black, Sheryl Stradling and Aveen Toma. Paige invited the four other artists to be part of the show.

Following that event is “Compassion is the Key: Art of the Divine Feminine,” during which Paige will show a collection of her work centered around the divine feminine, a term used for the energy associated with the “mother,” compassion and love in different religions. That show is March 6 to March 28, with an open house from 3 to 7 p.m. March 6.

Figures such as Mary in Christianity, Kuan Yin in Buddhism and Shekhinah in Judaism are tied to this concept of the Divine Feminine.

Paige, who also has a background as a personal growth coach and author, draws inspiration from statues, etchings and silk paintings of Kuan Yin for her art.

Along with paintings and mixed-media banners, the solo exhibition will feature an art installation/photo-op piece on which viewers can take selfies and group pictures.

Paige hopes with both exhibitions to get visitors to think more deeply about spirituality and “come away with some kind of inspiration for themselves.”

Many of the artists in the group exhibition are more established.

They each have had different journeys as individuals and as artists.

Paige grew up in Illinois and took her first art class at age 10 at the Art Institute of Chicago. Throughout her career, she has taken part in juried shows throughout the country. In her mixed-media artwork, Paige blends acrylic paintings with gold leaf, graphite and paper fibers.

“It’s fun because there is no limit to it,” Paige says of mixed-media work.

Along with showcasing prominent local artists such as Paige, the group exhibition will offer an opportunity for one emerging artist to show her work on a larger scale.

Aveen Toma recently graduated from Benedictine University in Mesa. This will be her first exhibition since graduating, although she previously had pieces in juried shows.

“She just is very deep, and she’s always been very spiritual. She is incredibly talented. When I was putting this show together, I knew I wanted her to be a part of it,” Paige says.

Paige has part of the Phoenix art scene on and off for 40 years, during which time she curated shows for and held different positions with the Mesa Art League.

She has also directed several different galleries, including an avant-garde space where she brought in emerging artists doing video, performance and mixed-media art.

“They couldn’t really get into the Scottsdale galleries. It was so competitive. I gave them an opportunity,” Paige says.

In Mesa, she continues to work with professional and emerging artists in different mediums when curating shows.

“You are appealing to a lot of different people when they come to view it. There’s always something for somebody to relate to,” Paige says.

Although she has had spiritual work in her shows before, this is the first time Paige is presenting two exhibitions dedicated entirely to religious and spiritual pieces.

The display will highlight works inspired by Eastern and Western beliefs.

Paige says Toma is influenced by Christianity, Becker by Catholicism and Italian religious art, and Stradling by the Buddhism and Eastern belief systems.

For her work, Black drew inspiration from the Heard Museum’s collection of kachinas dolls, which were often used in spiritual rituals.

Paige says for all of these artists, their spiritual beliefs are part of who they are as individuals.

“It’s very hard to express sometimes what you are feeling or thinking as an artist, but because all of these women are very spiritual or religious, it flows out of them. The art is their connection of how to express that to the world,” Paige says.

“Women and Spirituality”

When: Various hours Saturday, February 6, to Saturday February 27

“Compassion is the Key: Art of the Divine Feminine”

When: Various hours Saturday, March 6, to Sunday, March 28

Where: OneOhOne Gallery, 101 W. Main Street, Mesa

Cost: Free