Friday, February 4, 2011

Sacrosanct @ West Tampa Center for The Arts Gallery

 The West Tampa Center for The Arts Gallery (WTCA), located at 1906 N. Armenia Ave, Tampa, is in a charming industrial building from 1904, the old Santaella Cigar Factory.  The cigars were among Winston Churchill's and Babe Ruth's favorites. The building's owners, the Ellis and Van Pelt families, operate their business from the lower floors, and in a rare and visionary move, divided the upper floors into artists' studios, creating this great community cultural asset.

The theme of this exhibit, which opened on January 21st, was "Sacrosanct", works that are above change, interference, or criticism (what a dare!). I won't comment on that, but here's a few highlights...

Jane Balden Palmer's naturally themed, eco-conscious "The Earth Unwinding" and "Sacrilege", beautiful etheral, almost surreal watercolors, the former very graphic, the second more realistic and a bit apocalyptic?

Work here [Click]

Gabriella Banet  exhibited three works, similar to this one, with very dark, mysterious, inky images with subtle tonalities and once the viewer settles into them, one notices faces/or figures emergent in them. My favorite was Rise Above The Rain, I.

Taylot Pilote's Poor Estimation, III, a gleaming black steel and Urethane sculpture, composed of basically a sideways-"U" shaped structure, with forms of 55-gallon oil drums "floating" on the black mirror-like surface. One of the best artworks related to the oil spill I've seen to date. See here.

David Gabbard, a recent graduate of USF, had "Bat-Mite" and "Little Patriot", acrylic prints on canvas of collaged photographs of a child dressed up as a super-hero on a comic-book background. At first overwhelming color and composition-wise, they yield observations on the world children face in fantasy and later as adults. See here.

Nicole Abbett, a photographer of note whom I've talked with before at an earlier show at the WTAC, also a USF grad from Boston, had gorgeous, jewel-like, nearly abstract color prints like this one, accompanied by intimate, diary-like narrative titles, in this case: You and I Watching The Sunrise. I'm glad to see she hasn't left for Boston yet.

Leslie Elsasser, a Ringling Lecturer, had several  works in hand ground pigments, gouache, etc. expertly executed on hand-made paper. Some were based on Indian (from India) motifs and/or myths.

Frank Bolock's hand-ground pigment, gouache & watercolor, Sunny Day Laundromat, was a stand-out at this show.

There were many artists' studios open, though I missed Stephen Holms'....I enjoyed talking with Anna Vazquez in her studio and her fascinating jewelry. See here.

The WTCA is putting on great shows. "Sacrosanct" was their best yet.

--- Luis

Sacrosanct @ West Tampa Center for The Arts Gallery -

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