Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Celebrations of Uncertainty @ Collective

View of part of the exhibit, back room at Collective Gallery

The Collective is a tattoo parlor and gallery at 601 Central Avenue in St. Pete. This show, Celebrations of Uncertainty, with works by three artists, Brandon Dunlap, Christina Garcia, and Paul Pavlovich, is said to have a "nightmarish and ghostly" approach.


"Tamara Teuthida", by Brandon Dunlap. A white-faced Gibson-Girl's head on a tentacled body. "Teuthida" is the taxonomic name for the squid family. Tamara is a mythological name for a witch. It was also the title of an American horror movie about a character that returns from the dead in a seductive form to exact revenge from those who had been formerly unkind.

On the right is "First Buck", by Brandon Dunlap. It has the same theme as paintings of Judith and Holofernes and Salome and John the Baptist [Link], the decapitation (and symbolic emasculation) of the male. Here a little girl holds the head of a buck triumphantly.

 Paul Poplovich often makes biting socio-political commentary with the works in this show. In one, he has the Pope's crown/hat and below it a jellyfish, tentacles dangling, in a work called "Man of War". Here, in "Aristocrat", we see a member of the landed gentry on his horse, looking weak, foppish, ridiculous, paranoid and potentially mean, done in an American Colonial style.

On the right is Poplovich's "Olive Branch Dub". A red figure wistfully beholds an olive branch it is holding. The olive branch is a symbol for peace. The word 'dub' is street slang for twenty dollars worth of intoxicants.

In "Obscura One", we see a grotesque of a suit with a large, deformed toothy dinosaur-like skull for a head. Perhaps a comment on obsolescent thought? Note how different the images I have shown are, & how Poplovich is at ease with each of these styles.

Cristina Garcia's work in this show is of women, particularly tattooed/painted women, often with a tribal aspect. Here on the left, we see it literally, but in others, it's more conceptual. These are confident, strong women, performing their duties, going about rituals, or being, serene, powerful and introspective in their femininity. They are at ease in their own bodies and with the idea of transformation. Many have narratives inscribed on their bodies, all of them have it in them, their faces, postures and being. This is potent, primal work, the kind that establishes a taut emotional connection with the viewer..

 Congratulations to Collective for a good show from three interesting and varied artists.

--- Luis

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