Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Synergistic & "New Works" Exhibit @ West Tampa Center for The Arts, Part II

Ariel Baron-Robbins received her MFA from USF last Spring. She is currently an adjunct professor at HCC.
Her focus is on drawing, but she has worked with other media, including conceptual video, in which she "drew" linelessly with her body. I had the pleasure of talking with Ariel at the WTAC opening of her show. Born in Memphis, and raised around Oxford Mississippi, both hotbeds for Southern American artists, she still retains gallery representation in Memphis and locally at Tempus Projects.

These works, all new, involve drawing, collaging with different kinds and cuts of paper, and other media. The one on the left is titled "Sea Tree". There are many effects generated by this kind of construction. One is that of sub-framing. The edges of the paper (sometimes torn, others cut) , create compartmentalized, slightly Cubist spaces within the surface of the works, as seen here. The range of tones in the paper varies, and causes parts of the work to have a layered, and sometimes salient quality to them, creating pseudo-spatial tensions. This, like the other works in the show, borders on the abstract, but doesn't go there 100%. In a way, Sea Tree does come across as a tree in a landscape, but this is nothing like a literal landscape or tree.

From memory, I believe the tile of this is "Fishing".  This large work (although Ariel tells me normally her work has been much larger) with its palm frond-forms along the edges, and tiles in the foreground that become increasingly unstable and disintegrate and shatter towards the center, is quite strong. And what lies at the center?
In this close-up, you can see that at the center is a home, an evanescent home before the debris. I found this work quite moving, evoking feelings of being displaced, not being able to go home again, memories of ancestral homes, the current storm of foreclosures, a sense of loss, and most of all, longing.

The above work, titled "Fenestra" (window), has a voyeuristic sense of looking through a window, but in the work, one also seems to be looking at a window. One thing about these works is their palpable sensuality. In the layers of paper, lushness and delicacy of the tones & compositions, it comes across clearly, beautifully integrated with the rest of the work. Some of these works, like the two above, are rich in Kant's feeling of the Sublime. I left wanting to see more.

This show can be seen at the WTAC, at 1906 N. Armenia Ave. until March 18th. Treat yourself.

--- Luis

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous work, congratulations to Ariel.
    Paula Temple