Some people think of portraits as things to own because they depict you or your loved ones, a kind of mnemonic fetish, similar to a snapshot, only on a grander, more displayable scale. The collectible portrait extends well beyond that, and has a long-standing tradition in Art. See here.
The show at the Donna Gordon Gallery and Studio has the work of many area portraitists. Jack Barrett was a well-known portraitist-illustrator for the St. Petersburg Times newspaper and fine artist. His work spans a wide stylistic range from detailed realism to near-total abstraction. A lot of his figures are self-referential, and over the years included repeating symbols and motifs. His posthumous retrospective show at the Morean back in 2008, specially the magnificent glimpse of the artist's sketchbooks, lingers in memory to this day. There is a wide range of Barrett's work in the Gordon gallery, including some very affordable pieces. My favorite at this show is an unframed picture of a harlequin drawn with incredible energy.
David Roland is a genre Fine Art portraitist who works with Floridian subjects, focused on people of the Florida Keys. In this show, there are several of his "Conchy Joes" series, and other works as well, including a langurous portrait of his Muse-Wife as a Venus on the water sans shell, with mathematical equations around her.
Joe Steiner is an accomplished Chicago observational figurative painter who paints from life. His work has been featured in many of the best galleries in the Windy City. He delves well below the parts of the subject that reflect light or gesture.
Curtis Sneary is an Ohio transplant, now living nearly a decade in St Pete, who has done illustrations for magazines and ad work, as well as paintings randing from the sensuously introspective to pointedly ironic and humorous. Here is a wide sampling of his work. He also has an amazing piece on the oil spill at the current Morean Member's Art Show.
There are many other artists in this well-curated show, including Ms. Gordon's insightful, sensuous and psychological bronzes, Cecilia Lueza's dreamy, glowing, flowing figures, and Michael Assif's beguiling Halloween portraits of children masquerading as other characters while simultaneously being themselves.
This show of collectible and beautiful figurative works raises questions about identity, portraiture, and not just of the people inside the frame, but those of us standing before it.
Ps. The show opened on Sept 10th, and runs through December 9th. It can be seen at Donna Gordon Gallery and Studio, @ 625 Central, St Petersburg. Open Tue-Sat, noon to six PM. 727.827.2811
Pps. Donna Gordon is a business veteran. Retired after 17 years in the investment and finance industries, she's also a renowned bronze figurative sculptor with work in many collections at the national level, owner of the Donna Gordon Gallery & Studio at 625 Central St Petersburg, and a board member at the Gulfport Art Center.