Monday, December 19, 2011

"I still have a bad feeling about this": Star Wars @ West Tampa Center for the Arts

News - "Overall, 15,070 Czechs identified themselves as Knights of the Jedi with the biggest proportion of adherents in the capital, Prague, with 3,977 followers or 0.31 percent of the population."

That's from the figures obtained by the latest census in the Czech Republic. [Link]. It's likely that more than a few Americans feel that way, and it's not surprising. With a heavyweight like Joseph Campbell involved in mythologizing the script for the first movie and setting the trend for those to follow, these films were bound to have lasting power in viewer's minds.

WTCA entrance

West Tampa Center for the Arts (WTCA) has a current show titled I still feel bad about this, themed around Star Wars and good-natured spoofing, though one soon discovers that in this case, spoofing is another form of hommage, if not worship. This is a fun show,  one that should be seen by lots of kids. Big kids, too.

 The uniforms in a militarized society clearly designate role and status among its members. Star Wars films used costumes astutely in this fashion. This mannequin on the left was a silent greeter as one approached the main gallery.
On the right, light sabers, Sith mask, football jersey and a dark knight of some kind carry on.

Deon Blackwell, "Garbage Compactor" and Vincent Jon Kral, "Space Trash"

This installation was a collaboration between two artists. One made the compactor, the other the trash. There was an entry point/chamber on the outside of this, on the left side, and one could enter and be "compacted" by one's fellows.


Work by Deon Blackwell

On the left is Deon Blackwell's "You're Breaking my Heart, Darth Vader's Meditation Room". Few distractions here, those side panels look like bomb bay doors, and that black thing in the middle is Vader's helmet.

Vincent Jon Kral, "Millenium Falcon Cockpit"

People had a blast at this show. Vincent Jon Kral's "Millenium Falcon Cockpit" reawakened many a gallery goer's inner JEDI and the awe people felt when they saw Star Wars for the first time. The man with the little boy smile depicted is one of scores who suspended disbelief and everything else to re-enter a magical time.

This is what the interior looked like sans people.

On the surface of an alien planet, er.... the WTCA parking lot... the eternal battle between good and evil raged on, with light sabers clashing...

Vincent Jon Kral, "Millenium Falcon Recreation Room"

This "Millenium Falcon Recreation Room" installation probably resembles more than a few dusty ones in basements across America. The attention to detail and light-hearted humor was wonderful.

James Reiman, "Rebel Without a Pod"

There was flat art, too. This is James Reiman's "Rebel Without a Pod", trying to hitch a ride from a garbage truck.

Adam Kitzerow's "Darth Maul's Other Half"

A hilarious rendition of one of the movies' most intense battle scenes by Adam Kitzerow.

There was no dearth of Darths.

There was a bicycle mixed-media installation that looked like one of the bad guys' spaceships, and a Sith rode it up and down the halls jousting with his light saber. Believe me, you just don't see this at any other art gallery.

Robb Fladry, "The Holy Trilogy in Carbonite:"

This mixed-media sculpture made of frozen water, VHS tapes and pulsating colored LEDs came from Robb Fladry. There was ephemeral transience and the eternal wrapped up into one piece. The thing glowed like a tribal religious icon.

James Reiman's "Excuse me, Sir, Might I inquire as to what's going on?", a Photoshopped image of a famous Viet Nam era photograph. The famous robot 3CPO, more polite and civilized than most humans, dares to ask the question. He stands where the nude napalmed girl runs in terror in the original picture.

Happy Life Day gave away 100 bootleg CDs, each with a pen and ink (sharpie in this case) drawing on it.

Congratulations to the artists, to WTCA, and Maida Millan for an uplifting and fun show. A special nod of gratitude to George Lucas.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the awesome review, because we had such a positive response we are going to have a closing reception on Dec 30th, 2011. I am dubbing this closing reception the Special Edition and have created a whole new body of works that will all be added to the show!

    May the Force Be With You!