Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two Shows @ The Morean Arts Center. Part I.

"Teacher's Pet" Show @ Morean Arts Center
Shows where one artist picks another, and the two show side-by-side are relatively uncommon. In the past year, I've only been to one other (at Rob Davidson Fine Arts). Currently at the Morean, is the "Teacher's Pet" show where teachers at the Art Center have chosen students to pair up with. The teacher-student relationship is a complex one, but at the simplest level, they affect each other, usually more in the direction of the student. Leonardo had Verrochio. For Matisse, it was Gustave Moreau. These relationships involve constant exchanges/dialogues and influences. At a show like this one, aspects of the above can be explored by the viewer.

Rose Marie Prins, "Golden Man", 1974-2011

Rose Marie Prins' "Golden Man" has a golden jacket, is before a golden background, wears green pants, and his skin matches the color of his tie. The artist has a dual-date on the title because the work was slightly altered before this show. The figure is partially defined by the fluent colors, and also by its form, which is a series of parabolas and X's, giving me the feeling of external forces bearing down, and internal ones pushing back.

Student Carol Komater had to say, in part, about Rose Marie: "She gave gentle, unwavering encouragement. Rose Marie also models the artist for me on every level, personal as well as professional. I continue to learn from her."

Carol Komater, "Shoko, 2004.

Carol Komater's "Shoko, 2004" is a nude reclining on drapery. Note the carefully restrained color palette. The figure simultaneously has organic form and also geometric planes, particularly from the tones and long bone lines. The drapery's folds, wrinkles and sags seem to prefigure aging. Note how weightless she looks. The juxtaposition of the feet cause the space to collapse on the right side, creating a delightful tension with the left.

Rose Marie had to say, in part, about Carol after listing a series of credits: "Throughout these years of shared endeavors a lasting friendship built on mutual respect has developed between us".

Neverne Covington, "The Rising"

MAC teacher Neverne Covington's "The Rising" is a charcoal and acrylic rendition of a succulent plant's new leaves unfolding. One can see the old, now dead ones at its base. The in-between is mysteriously dark. This could be read as an affirmation of life, and the ability to resurrect after a hard fall.

Neverne's student, Lori Starkey, said: "Neverne has opened my eyes to so many possibilities with my art. She has taught me that artists are very generous with their knowledge and to be open and learn to experiment with new ideas."

On the right is Lori Starkey's "Strictly Business, 2010".  Four cows in a field. They are composed in a very formal manner. Two look at the viewer, two are walking away. There's a rich subtlety of colors here that have little to do with realism and add vibrance to the animal figures.

Neverne said about Lori: "Her work started out tentative and restrained. With an open mind, Lori embraced each new technique demonstrated with boldness and fearlessness."

Lori's work was voted into the show by her classmates.

Rebecca Skelton, "Spirit Mother, 2011"
Above is Rebecca Skelton's "Spirit Mother, 2011". I used a larger size picture so the subtleties of its dark tones can be more easily seen. Part of Skelton's "black series", it was shown here recently stood on end in the artist's studio, which didn't do it justice. This image of a woman inside a horse brings to mind Epona, also called the Great Mare in Roman times and locations, or Rhiannon among the Celts. [Link].
They probably go back to the horsewomen whose remains have been found buried in the grass-covered turf of the Khazak steppes. They were warriors, mothers, cooks, healers and more. I see a lot of her here.

Student Leslie Ann Chanove said about Rebecca: "For me her drawing style exemplifies  the possibilities of drawing as a form of art encompassing all dimensions."

Leslie Ann Chanove

This delicate stand of white trees against a pink background, within a circle of shrubs and bushes has a spiritual quality to it. Protected and thriving in an intimate, warm environment.

[I'm embarrassed to say that the photo I took of the tag to this, containing what Rebecca said was seriously blurred and illegible. I will try to get this ASAP]

Betsy Orbe Lester, "Two-step 2011"

I saw this hanging in Betsy's studio at the Craftsman Gallery's Arts Lofts a few weeks ago. It is a semi-abstract work, of formally restrained, nearly unbridled emotion. Look carefully around this work. Take your time. What are you seeing?  How do the colors make you feel? Those dots in the lower right panel look like fingerprints.What's in the panel next to it?

Student Jean Grastorf said of Betsy: "I was not told what or how to paint, but t let the paint flow and become whatever it would be."

Jean Grastorf, "A Sense of Balance, 2010-2011"

Jean Grastorf's diptych, a sense of balance forces the question: Is that balance within each work, betwen them, or both?

Betsy on Jean. Both have been in both teacher and student roles in each others' lives: "Jean shed light in her process and on us in my Mixed Media class. Seeking the new, she left her 'plan ahead' approach as we watched and learned from a pro, that change is growth."

Dani Sigler, "Conditional Procedures I, 2011"

Dani Sigler's "Conditional Procedures I" consists of earthenware figures, among other multimedia, under glass, like medical specimens. The two purple giraffe figures are rubbing necks. Above them, an oddly misshapen leg in green floats.

Student Sonya Faulhaber on Dani Sigler: "Dani is fiery and interesting and in love with art. Her joy and attitude became infectious. Dani's free spirit and mild phobias have been a blessing. She taught me a new media, but better yet, she helped me stay an artist as I also became a mommy."

Sonya Faulhaber, "Beloved Identity Crisis, 2011"

Sonya Faulhaber's "Beloved Identity Crisis" is a glazed earthenware vessel of a head with a small figure of a baby on the viewer's left, and a Venus figure on the right. A parable on motherhood.

Dani on Sonya: "In this piece she has experimented with a number of clay surface techniques and successfully built a conceptual, sculptural and functional ceramic vessel."

Doug Taylor, "Untitled, #7784, 2011"

This glass bowl by Doug Taylor is an object of extraordinary decorative beauty. It is an uplifting, passionate design, form and color. How refreshing it is to see a glasswork that is not XXL and yet stands out and is nuanced.

Student Matt Galvin on Doug: "The most important thing Doug teaches is not to fight the glass."

Matt Galvin, "Untitled"

Matt Galvin's green glass vessel is swirling with greens of different hues and sizes. It has a fluid dynamicism and is more a "look into" than "look through" piece.

Doug on Matt: "When I first met Matt, he would always show up an hour and a half before class."

Valerie Scott Knaust, "Pinch Pot, 2011"

This soda-fired clay pot is a small, expertly done work. The form is elegant and at the same time, lightheartedly whimsical. This is one of those works that one should slowly walk all the way around.

Student Beth Morean on Valerie: "She is always driving us, coming up with challenging projects and encouraging us to push the envelope in our work."

Beth Morean, "Pitcher with Cups"

At the very entrance to the gallery was Beth Morean's "Pitcher with Two Cups", a soda-fired clay set. The pitcher has a strong leaf motif and shape. The two cups echo its form, but have their own textures and coiled bases. This is a very romantic piece.

Teacher Valerie on Beth: "I have always enjoyed Beth's platters and plates. It has been fun to challenge her to go vertical with her work."

Congratulations to the Morean Arts Center for an interesting exhibit, one that showcases the quality of the teaching that is available there, and how their students have grown and developed as a result.

Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Avenue, St. Pete.

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