by Nina Baldwin

cloud catcher*dream maker*artist

"Art touches the is reaches out from the canvas and passes through the eyes of the viewer right into his heart where it can leave an imprint of beauty that can make the spirit sing."
Nina Baldwin ...

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

PAUL COZE - Public Works from the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum

"...the spirit perishes if untended."   ...Kandinsky

Recently I traveled to Phoenix to spend some time with an old friend.  Kathy and I have been friends since we were twelve.  We have that kind of friendship where it doesn’t matter how long it has been since we last talked, we just pick up right where we left off the last time we were together...and our conversations are always filled with lots of laughter!

I decided to go a couple of days early because I had something very important to do.  I wanted to get some pictures of any public artworks by Paul Coze that are still standing today…

Paul Coze was the artist who, in the 1960’s and early ‘70s, was responsible for giving Phoenix its very unique southwest flair through public works…his creations spoke of our Native Americans and their way of life, of modern society, our history, technology and our future.  Mr. Coze had spent much time with the tribes in Arizona, learning their customs and beliefs…he established lasting friendships with these peoples. 

Paul Coze’s artwork is rich in symbolism…it is said that he used 52 different natural elements in the making of the mural that even today hangs in Terminal #2 at the Phoenix Airport… elements such as earth from the reservations, the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon…copper, granite and feathers, etc. Mythology also played a part in his work…his Phoenix (the bird, somewhat altered in appearance now) is still rising from the ashes at the Town and Country Shopping Center on 20th St. and Camelback Road… 

It was 119 degrees in the shade the day that I pulled up to the gates of the Arizona State Fair Grounds…I worried I wouldn’t find a gate open to let me on the property, but I lucked out and found one!  I drove over to the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum and parked under the biggest piece of shade I could find... 

I tried the big doors, and as I suspected, they were locked up tight…wandering around the building I found a small door which I decided looked like a possibility…went inside and met the man in charge…he was most gracious to me, listening to my story about PC and my desire to photograph any of Coze’s artwork that might be available …I am very grateful for his kindness…he said there were some paintings on the second floor, but he wasn’t sure who the artist was… he allowed me to take photos of the artwork there…I found Paul Coze’s signature on the images…and that’s what I have to share with you today! 

…a little explanation of the images…some are large works which hang near the entrance doors…others vary in size and shape, hanging, unfortunately, on the ceiling over the refreshment stands…together the series of images on the ceiling make murals...two murals, one on either side of the building.  Unfortunately I can't display the images as a mural, left to right, but they are grouped together below.  The paintings look like they are on canvas, adhered in some manner to the walls and ceilings of the structure…it appears that Mr. Coze chose a theme for his artwork...most images seem to be of events that he anticipated would take place inside the walls of that great edifice…thus, the bucking broncos, the mariachis, circus acts, dancers/performers, even Miss Rodeo…

the images are divided…one side of the building portrays Native Americans playing a game which is historically accurate…the other side has paintings which portray events which might happen in modern society…included in these are a few powerful paintings of strong women from different ethnicities…they are lovely!  I hope you enjoy seeing these paintings…they are just a few of the images created by Coze that have been saved over the years…a piece of a valuable inheritance for all of us!
...the first mural...


I will publish the second mural tomorrow...see you then!

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