Monday, February 14, 2011

Artists Choose Artists @ Rob Davidson Fine Arts

On January 22, the opening for Artists Choose Artists, a show based on the theme of established artists choosing emerging artists to be in the show, which was curated by Paula Allen, aka "Polly Zoom", took place at Rob Davidson Fine Arts, a combination gallery/exhibit space, retail artspace, photo-print shop and frame shop. Here's some highlights.

Gulfport-based Nancy Cervenka makes film-based sculptures, for which she is well-known and revered by her peers and several galleries here and elsewhere. Nancy began doing these works (she also photographs and does videos, is a martial artist, I hear, and more...) while getting her MFA in film in the late 70's or early 80's at USF. She spirals the strips of film, gluing them into form. Use a magnifying glass and lots of images are revealed in the work, which has its own inner sense of time (24 fps). Light can be projected unto and through the film, with interesting secondary effects produced. 

Nancy won Best-in-Show with a dress sculpture called "Wearable Art". See here. Here are some images from other works [click], [click].

Nancy's work is in the collections of Peter Fonda, Shirley Mac Laine, Time Warner, Ismael Merchant, Todd Soldonz, and many others.

Kylyn Cervenka, Nancy's niece, is an emerging ceramic artist who has been studying under [get name]. In the single work shown under the name "Familial Convergence",  their strengths synergize into one work. The bottom 2/3rds of the work are composed of perhaps a dozen of Nancy's film spires that go into holes in a ceramic bowl made by Kylyn sitting sideways, 'piercing' through some of these holes. This collaboration results in a synthesis of two minds. The work is unlike any other done by Nancy, and a great start for Kylyn, whose contribution was beautifully designed and executed.

Diana Leavengood showed "Djupalonssandur Beetle"  , a doubly exposed photograph on one negative type C print. It's the engine bay of a VW Bug with the hood up and another exposure of rocks over it. The effect is greater than the sum of its parts. A little disorienting until one stops imposing their visual demands/ecxpectations and yields to the photographer's vision. Ms. Leavengood chose Mandie Porcelli, who also brought a double exposure, hers of the Pier and out-of focus lights. The effect is to make the Pier appear to be lifting off.


Rebecca Skelton, with whom I spoke lat night at the Art Lofts,  had an exquisite drawing titled "Freed"
, of a woman in an introspective moment of realization. Her choice was Samantha Spalholz, who brought "Elements",  an interesting work on paper with burnt holes in it, consisting of charcoal, thread, water, acrylics and fire.

Rose Marie Prins' contemplative work, "Captivity", is a narrative about the tension between inaction in the sense of imprisonment and action (escape). To view this multimedia work, Ms. Prims encourages the viewer to don a pair of archival cotton gloves and unfold the work, freeing it from a box that resembles a pirate's chest. This action recreates the artist's own captivity and escape. She skillfully blends the poetry and history of previous women to create her personal metaphor. The poem's calligraphy is accompanied by her renderings of a woman, centuries ago held captive by Native American Indians, her thoughts and feelings about her ordeal, and final release. Like an accordion-type book, you unfold the mystery in time, and it ends where it begins, with the box, which is lined with a luxurious fabric, implying a gilded cage. This brings the viewer to the moment of transcendence, where the treasure chest is transformed symbolically into Pandora's box, whose emptiness implies the hopes of new beginnings by dwelling not on self-imprisonment, but self-empowerment.

[The above review was written by AT sometime correspondent, Lydia G.]

  She partnered with Matthew Hawkins, whose "Fraelissa",  an oil painting, a long, vertical oil painting of a white tree's outline on a background divided into blue and red with veining running through it was simply beautiful.

Polly Zoom, aka Paula Allen, brought one large work , divided into quadrants, and four small works, ""Polly Zoom" one through four. Mixed media works in her upbeat, feel-good, quasi-Russian style. She chose Clint Thomas, who is the printer at Rob Davidson Fine Arts. He showed three works. Two spidery abstracts playing heavily with symmetry and positive/negative space, looking like skeletonized cathedral ceilings, "Cigar City Power" & "Positively 4th Street"  and one titled "Stars" (of which I happen to own a variant).

 The show can be seen at:

Robert Davidson Fine Arts (727) 827-1888
1100 1st Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33705

--- Luis

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