Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh, Be Still: Five Perspectives on the Tableau @ Donna Gordon Gallery & Studio

Tableau is a word for tabletop paintings. It is a time-honored art form going back hundreds of years. Normally, it consists of a still-life on a table. For her Fall Show, Donna Gordon Gallery & Studio (DGG&S) is showing the work of five artists: John Bayalis, Marta Crawford, Rick Reeves, John Rizotto, and Ann Sklar.

John Bayalis, "Vacation's End"
This watercolor by John Bayalis is a virtuoso piece, with all the varieties of the play of light on and through various surfaces. Its luminosity initially overwhelms the rest of the image. It's about morning, and the beginning of a new day, in this case, the last day of vacation. In the tradition of tableaux, there's a bit of a cornucopia, with flowers, the pears limned by the light skimming over the table. The coffee cups waiting to be filled, people to come to the breakfast table, and the flowers, in the vase and the cups. The magazine harkens back to another time.

Rick Reeves, Fruit and Shell
Rick Reeves, whom I've met at DGG&S, is primarily an historical painter specializing in Civil War scenes, but he is also a still-life painter. This work, painted in alkyd, and from a distance to the table, has signifiers from the most classic era of tableaux, meshing with Floridian elements. The flower looks like an orchid... the many shells evoke the sea...there's a cut-up melon on the left, and oranges, whole and halved. The latter were a staple of Dutch still-life paintings from the 1600's and earlier. 

Ann Sklar, "Orange Thread"

 This acrylic abstract still life by Ann Sklar is at the other end of the tabletop world. Very conceptual, and an absolute standout in terms of color. Looking a bit like a color-field painting, the chromatic intelligence in this painting is breath-taking. 

Congratulations to the five artists and to Donna Gordon for a fine show.

Donna Gordon, "Leap!"

This isn't part of the show, but it merits mention. It is the latest bronze sculpture by Donna Gordon of a figure of a man taking a daring jump. This is the kind of piece that must be seen in person to be appreciated. It has a classical aura to it, with force, and an ethereal lightness that sings out for the viewer to dare and reach in their own lives. Beautiful.

The Gallery is at 625 Central Avenue, St. Pete.

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