Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Study in Self-Portraiture: "Moi" @ Artful Living

 It should be mentioned that there's only eleven (11) works in "Moi", the current show at Artful Living, and two of the works are from the co-curators, Missy Roll and Melissa Van der Laak. Considering there are five good-sized walls available, plus a portion of a sixth, this show is unlike most, where wallspace is maximally utilized to hang art. And the theme, the Self-Portrait, is something almost every artist does. Missy told me Artful Living is looking for artists that haven't been exhibited before, a commendable mission for any gallery curator.

Among the highlights: Julie Dye's "Neither Here nor There". The artist-photographer lies wrapped in a blue sheet (or dress?) on a bed, her head away from the viewer, below a window, on a matching blue bedspread. The effect is partially serene, with some underlying tensions mostly raised by what cannot be seen.

In a corner of a room painted green, a pair of raised arms intrude into the frame of a large vertical photographic print, with dance-like hand gestures. Its title, "Black Tarantula",  affects how we read the image, casting the gestures into perhaps threatening ones.

Appropriately titled {for this show) "I am me", Melissa Van der Laak's mixed media work was a stand-out in this show. Consisting of a small (12x16?) frame, with a black background. Centered, near the top is a doily about three or four inches in diameter. There's a lock of Melissa's blonde hair pinned to it. Below, there's a window cut-out from the background, revealing white paper beneath, in which the artist write (approximately) "Sixty per cent of women change their hair after a break-up". It sounds simple, and it is. Effective, too.

The shows at Artful Living continue to improve, but this one left us wanting more in terms of the quantity of work exhibited.

"Moi" opened on Sept 3rd, and closes on Sept 25th. Artful Living is at 1100 First Ave North, St Petersburg. 727.821. 2255 Hours (from  memory, so you may want to call) run from about 10 AM - 5PM.

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