Saturday, November 16, 2013

Journey of Discovery @ Beth Kokol Gallery.

Photo Courtesy of Beth Kokol Arts.

The Beth Kokol Gallery is situated on the S, side of Bay to Bay blvd, in South Tampa (not far from where this is being typed). It is a large, beautiful multitasking space that can accomodate events, art shows and art classes. Beth Kokol told me she has been teaching art privately over a dozen years. At first in a cottage behind her house, a year and a half ago she and her husband bought two adjacent buildings on the boulevard. He works out of one, she the other.

Beth teaches around three-hundred students in her classes, a large portion of them adults, making her and her classes a significant influence in the Bay area arts scene. This show was comprised of sixty works by Beth Kokol, Dawn Hunt, who is no stranger to this blog, George Fuller, Joanne Higbee and Beth's son, Emerson Kokol. 

The building is large enough for three artists to have their own individual spaces. The last was shared between Mss. Higbee and Hunt. Here are a few highlights from the show...

George Fuller showed a roomful of Hipstamatic prints made on watercolor paper. They were taken during a 2011 road trip with a band of 20-somethings on tour. These photographs had a somewhat withdrawn, intensely observant quality about them. 
Work by George Fuller

In the work shown above, George breaks with convention by not showing us faces and photographing people from behind, focusing on the tattoo on this woman's neck. There's a man in a bumblebee suit in the background, too. The graphics of the ink and the graceful curve of her face and neck make this image. It is ambiguous enough that it allows the viewer a kernel around which they can accrete their own narrative. The backstory is very strange, but it is best to allow the viewer their own interpretation.

George told me he wished he could have taken his camera with him, but I think the phone was the right tool in his hands in this instance. 

Dawn Hunt's work has been featured on this blog. In this show she had a series of feminine figures over the handwritten lyrics of songs. 

Dawn Hunt, "The Gypsy"

In "The Gypsy", a self-portrait  is overlaid with the lyrics to the Fleetwood Mac song. The facial gesture seems one of resolve.

Joanne Higbee's mixed media works consisted mostly of birds perched on what appeared to be tropical plants. Her use of color is eclcctic and incisive. The birds transcend their avian appearance into the spiritual, with plants and in another case dragonflies almost paying hommage.

 Both Emerson and Beth Kokol seem to have had Chinese themes in this show (from staying in China as a student for Emerson and a trip there by Beth). Emerson's photographs included well-executed, oft-seen Chinese themes and memes, like the red lanterns, terraced rice paddies and a dog-eared remnant of the revolution, a red Chairman Mao book. 

Work by Emerson Kokol.

Beth Kokol's paintings in this show also had a Chinese theme. There were paintings based on myths, botanicals and more. The artist's technique is impressive. Her solvency and ensuing fluency in painting allow her to modulate the visual effects in her imagery in a precise manner. In "Lotus", shown below, this control, coupled with passion

Beth Kokol "Lotus"

Congratulations to Beth Kokol, George Fuller, Dawn Hunt, Joanne Higbee and Emerson Kokol for a good show.

--- Luis

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