Friday, November 5, 2010

Under The Bed @ Artful Living

Last Friday, Artful Living held its "Under the Bed" opening. The Halloween-themed show was curated solely by St. Peterburg photographer Missy Roll.

Shadoe McKee's "Nowhere to Go", an airbrushed acrylic painting of a screaming child holding up a hand in which there us a wooden door, slightly ajar, with gold light leaking through the edges was laced with sentimentality and lots of drama.

In "The Watchers", by St Petersburg photographer Nikki Devereux, a young woman in what seems to be a white nightgown, sits next to a wall with lighter and darker beams emanating from the figure. On the wall are several eyes watching her, and just above her head, a pair of closed eyes. A very dreamy yet somewhat paranoid image. It is an acrylic gel transfer on birch, a process I want to know more about.

A somewhat creepy bride [Link] in her gown and a classic studio pose with an intense and emotionless gaze looks out at the viewer. This graphic image has been clearly worked over digitally, with harder contrasts, bright pinks and rich textures. The bride reminds me of a sculpture of a bride I saw in a Taos museum, a bulto of a shell-shocked bride. Mr. Thomas' is up to date, and similarly shocked-looking. The title, "Reanimated Passion" makes us wonder what needs re-animation in a bride. 

Geff Bartrand's (aka Dr. Twisted) "The Toys Have turned" is not the kind of Toy Story we're used to seeing. It's a not-too-scary and humorous look at toys-turned-monsters when left alone, their Shadow-side emerging.

Maryanne Wysocki's "Scary Shrine Circus Clown" is a beautifully colored mixed media piece of a little girl on her bed, and a malevolent clown lurking below.

Monsters play when reason sleeps, and not all of them under the bed. Some haven't come out of the closet yet. "Closet Monster", by Patricia Warren is understated, compared to most works in this show. Only the tips of the monster's shoes are visible from the closet's open door, inspiring dread in a "Blair Witch" kind of way.. What we can see of the room looks creepily gritty.

The ubiquitous Frank Strunk III's "Jimmy" consists of a child's mannequin astride a tricycle, with a light fixture coming out of its left arm, and shining a bulb right by his face, which he is reaching for with his right hand.His legs are also dangling by the same kind of gooseneck tubing the light is held by. Elsewhere, Frank has claimed that this construction has moved around on its own!

Putting together things like a Halloween-themed show is risky business, but Missy has brought together a number of works that explore not so much the holiday as the shadowy things that lie below the veneer of reason.

--- Luis

"Under the Bed" can be seen at Artful Living, 1101 First Ave. St Petersburg. No closing date given.

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