Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Artists Invitational @ Franklin Street Fine Woodwork

Franklin Street Fine Woodwork (FSFW) is on the 1600 block of N. Franklin St, about a block north of Cafe Hey. The owners are Carl Johnson and Alison Swann-Ingram. It is an old building and adjacent fenced-in patio (loading dock) that has been rebopped into beautiful shape.

Franklin Street Fine Woodworking
 The woodworkers at FSFW make exquisite furniture, cabinets, doors, gates and architectural details. For a sample of their work, look here [Link] and click on 'portfolio'. As good as the pictures are, their work looks far more impressive in person.
Wood workers' tools at Franklin Street Fine Woodworking.

They held the opening reception to their Artists Invitational show March 11th, with seven artists showing their works.

  Greeting gallery goers were two large (8') sculptures at the entrance to FSFW by Marc De Waele. This one is titled: "Mystic Dance 1". They're made of hammered aluminum, hollow, powder coated and painted. Thanks to their construction, they're light for their size. They have a certain regal elegance and embracing light-heartedness.

  This is Daniel Mrgan, who is a freelance designer, illustrator and fine artist working with wood-burning, which is uncommon. He is in his early 30's, and born in Croatia. Many of the works he brought to this exhibit are from his "Sick days" series, which I first saw at C. Emerson Fine Arts in the Fall of 2009, and his series on Miners. Though a healthy adult, Daniel was a sickly child, suffering from flus, stomach viruses, colds, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and allergies. This series is about that, a child's fragile health and the doctors, medicines, and his grandmother's remedies, all back in Croatia. See here: [Link]. He also does paintings: [Link]
Here's four works from the Miners series. Mrgan sees them as heroes who go into danger every day.

This work, by Kim Radatz, is titled "The Scarlet Letter (99 Lashes)".  One of several she had in this show. It refers, in part, to the story of an Iranian woman that was facing stoning for the crime of adultery. It is a delicate dress, with bright, blood-red accents around the collar, and running down its length to the stones below. The Iranian penal code specifies that the guilty are to be partially buried, and the stones to be used must not be too big, "so as not to kill the victim immediately" (quote taken directly from KR's tag for the work). There's an initial wave that washes over me before a work like this, then subtler echoes resonate within. The Scarlet Letter part of the title expands the range of meaning. History repeats itself, cruelty against women continues unabated... the river rock stones are worn smooth by time and water. The red tendrils cascade down unto the rocks, wearing them down further still.

Kim's website: [Link].

Ernesto Piloto-Marquez is a Cuban-born artist (and trained chef) whose primary means of escape as a child was through his box of crayons. This painting, one of several of his in the show, is titled "Escape". The large puppeteer's hand holding the strings, has "control", perhaps superfluously, all over it. The strings tug on small artists' mannequins that are standing on a shelf (EPM use the shelf trope in at least one other work). which looks a lot like a dock. Below the shelf, the word "freedom" repeats.

Lydia Rupinski had some woodcuts in the show along with some of thev illustrations she does for children's books.

Inside the exhibition space at FSFW just after the show opened. Congratulations to them for putting together a great show. It closes on March 20th, so there's still time to see it.

--- Luis


  1. A great review but I am surprised that you left out the work of Sean Fitzgerald, a functional potter who was also in the show. His pots are amazing in form and surface. or is clay not art to you?

  2. Hi, Elizabeth. I am honored to see you here. Thank you for the kind words on the review.

    I am aware of Sean's work, studied it @ the FSFW Invitational (I looked at all the work in the show). I also know he manages the Ybor Art Studio, and was one of the jurors along with you and Mr. Leto at the Ybor Museum show at Centennial Park.

    As you may have noticed, I also did not review one work by the Woodworking artists at FSFW, who hosted the show, nor the work of photographer Ugo Mazz. And clay, woodworking, and photography are art to me. If you read the Taco, you will see I do not review every single artist at every show I cover. Nor does Megan Voeller (Weekly Planet), Lennie Bennet (SPT), Esther, or any other reviewer in the Bay Area.

    If you read through Art Taco, you will find I regularly review clay works. In the past week, I've reviewed two: St Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts and FL Craftsmen Gallery, where I believe you are the Director. I've also been to another ceramic show currently at TMA (which I may go back and review, depending on time), another at Craftsman House, and at Mindy Solomon, which are in the pipeline and will appear here soon. I also have, as of now, six more clay shows that I will be going to and reviewing (depending on available time)in the next week or so.

    One thing: I admire you for standing/speaking up for, and championing an artist whose work you find amazing. We need a lot more like you.

    Congratulations for being the on-site Coordinator for NCECA, btw.

    Thank you,

    --- Luis/Art Taco