Saturday, December 8, 2012

The New Normal: Abnormal @ Fire Station #3

Young viewer and work @ Abnormal opening night.

There is a large, popular aspect to death in the American culture. Halloween is the 2nd spendiest holiday of the year. We have had two ongoing wars until recently, now "just" one. Doomsday Preppers have their own show. FEMA is issuing Zombie Apocalypse advisories. The Mayan Apocalypse/Judgment Day is two weeks away as I write this. Tampa is the Death Metal Capital of the world. The Buccaneers logo is a grinning death's head.

 There was a video projected onto a wall and corner at a steep angle in one of the rooms.

 The Abnormal Show is perhaps more normal than its name would suggest. First, congratulations to Marjorie: It is great to see Fire Station #3 (FS#3) actually open, with art on its walls and full of life, even if only for one night. The place is like one of those night-blooming century plants. If you blink, you'll miss it, and it is one of St Pete's best art spaces.

W. Herb Clark, "Egoid"

A giclee' diptych by W. Herb Clark about dominance and submission. The same subject in both. On the left, she is the dom, decked out in latex and holding the leash that goes across to the picture on the right, in which the same subject is the submissive. Note the left image has a red background (passion? power?) while the one on the right has a white one (purity? passivity?).  The leash works both ways. Read The Story of O, particularly the introduction on this.

It makes perfect sense that there is a lot of this type of art around. Some artists have been working along these lines for a very long time. I remember the group that showed at Pale Horse years ago, some of whom were at this show.

Work by Zen Glass

 We see red and white in this glass figure by Josh from Zen Glass. Spirited, fluid, brimming with life energies, dancing, the white glass tendrils bending back, bowing to it.

Work by Missy Roll

 Missy Roll's trio of gender-blending bearded ladies resurfaced for this show. Here is "Lady in Waiting" [Link]. No hint of royalty or court. Note the space around the figure, the small verdant yard she sits in and how it claustrophobically converges in the background.

Pale Horse, "Our Lady of Luchadores"

 Pale Horse's "Our Lady of Luchadores"  is a Madonna and Child for our time. An exquisite object in its own right, with gold leaf and printed computer graphics on wood, Mary is a Zombie, somewhat reminiscent of the Mexican Santa Muerte, a contemporary cult of death Virgin redux that drug dealers and the people in the border towns where there is ongoing carnage have come to worship. She is an incarnation of their psychic energies. Here she is the Lady of the Fighters. In her arms a jubilant Jesus dressed in Mexican wrestling garb and mask, his arms in a similar gesture to that of Christ as depicted by Matthias Grunewald in the Isenheim Altarpiece.. Note the five-pointed gold star on her right arm. In the geometries of the designs around the edge are references to triads and the rays often found ringing Mexican Virgin Marys.

"Owl", shown at left, was a miniscule work, about 2x2 inches, no artist name on label, was a powerful cute-creepy-humorous work of acrylic on the smallest canvas I've seen.

DGAC, "Bird"

 One of the stars of the evening was the work from Dysfunctional Grace Art Company resident artist Daniel. His taxidermy art stands out, specially the steampunk fusion pieces.

Abnormal show viewers

I want to congratulate all the artists, FS#3, Marjorie and all the viewers who made this show a success.

--- Luis

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