Thursday 4/30/2014 - Rented new Mini-Cooper (had been thinking of buying one), drove to Sarasota with my wife. Had lunch at Yoder's restaurant. Went to Burns Court Cinema, saw "Finding Vivian Maier", a good documentary about an excellent woman street photographer who worked as a nanny and never showed anyone her work, which was later found when auctioned out of storage by a Mr. Maloof, a young historian who first started with dreams of cashing out, and now is under Maier's spell. Vivian, a damaged angel, carried out her life as a photographer anyway.
A quick nap at the hotel, the humble but perfectly located Best Western in Sarasota, then off to see a noise music concert by Bora Yoon, 2013 Queen's Art Fund Recipient, and 2014 TED Fellow, sonic poetess and R. Luke Dubois, Master Digital Composer and visual artist, whose exhibit has been up for over a month at the Ringling. The two are long-time collaborators. It was an exceptional concert. DuBois modulated the visuals and some of the sounds.
Ms. Yoon, who is a professional soprano, sang in an ecstatic mode and used several devices to make music. She employed metronomes, the tubes from wind chimes, cell phones on a turntable, and more to generate lyrical noise music. The combination of her satin-like powerful voice and the noises made via unorthodox means made for a tremendous musical experience.
Afterwards, dinner at the Three Senoritas, a beer and bed.
Friday, May 1, 2014. - Breakfast at Yoder's, then to Selby Gardens for a couple of hours meandering around what used to be a rich person's garden, taking pictures and enjoying the greenery and flowers before heading back to Tampa. Unloaded car, took a brief nap, and went to Beth Kokol's gallery on Bay-to-Bay .
It was opening night for Kokol's "Adult Show" of her older students. Quality and consistency varies widely with student shows. The level of technical quality was very good. Several of the students were doing work that one might see in a commercial gallery in the area. One sign of a good art teacher is that there's zero homogeneity in their students' work, which is the case with Beth Kokol's students. The show featured valet parking (!) was very well attended and many works were sold.
From there to First Fridays Seminole Heights. First stop, Tempus gallery. The show, titled "In The Form of a Painting", was curated by Tempus co-curator Kurt Piazza and featured George Anderton, Edgar Sanchez Cumbas. Bianca Pratorius, Pablo Siebel, Ryann Slauson, and Gwyn Zesch. The show explored the local contemporary potential for the forms that a painting can take (along the lines of object/painting and concptual self-referencing. This gallery and its neighbor, QUAID, are the bastions of academic art in Tampa, mostly USF, at that.
I spoke with Tracy Reller, Jorge R. Gelats and others. Danny Olda popped in. Tracy showed me the soon-to-be-decoratively painted lockers that will become "Sustainer Containers", where for a yearly fee Tempus Patrons can stash their favorite spiritsfor their visits. Tempus will sweetwen the pot by putting in little "art surprises" throughout the year.
On the other side of the wall, at QUAID, was the Ville Mehtonen show, consisting of a series of small drawings of abstract and natural motifs, sometimes both in the same work. These had a lot of negative (blank) space. My wife spoke at length with Ville. Neil Bender, Anthony Record and Emily Miller were there.
Epoxy is one of the most radical galleries in this City. The brainchild of Anne Cox, Vivi Valdez and two others, this is in a cottage behind a house in a residential area. It is also a non-commercial gallery. The principals are art school grads and/or interior designers who are making this possible. It is a labor of love, and a first-class one it is. There is attention to detail, the space is light, fun and humanizing and the shows, quite good. It is a perfect incubator for the arts.
I have been following the work of Yanuary Irasema Navarro for about four years. This show was titled "Conscious Narrative", consisting of smaller drawings and paintings done "observationally", as Yanuary puts it. In person, live before the subject. [Disclosure: I bought two of her works]. These connected to her childhood in another country. There were also 5 or so mixed media pieces on ingenuous swing-like suspended shelves created by the Epoxy crew.. These will soon be used to make animations. They resemble terrariums and were described as such by the artist. Another artist live-painted a mural on the gallery walls.
Angus Shafer is a graphic designer working for the Tribune and TBO site. Unsurprisingly, his work shown at Workspace, my last stop on Friday, is graphic and Text-driven. Beautifully designed and executed, and the viewers loved it, buying up all the large pieces immediately, with only a few smaller ones left by the time I got there.
Saturday, May 2nd, I began at Strands of Sunshine, talking with Chad and Amy Marshall. Stopped briefly at Dysfunctional Grace Art Company, said hi to Liz. Went on to the Crislip Arcade and met with Bill Drugan and Richard Seidel. Ran into Danny Olda leaving the Indie Market. The "Emergence" show was at Fire Station #3 ((FS3). Like most shows comprised of the work of an associated group or club, there was a wide range of quality in the work shown, but most of it was good. Some, like Duncan McClellan's and Sarah Thee Campagna were standouts.
Lastly, I stopped at the Venture Compound for their "Future Sucks" show. The Venture Compound gallery continues to improve the quality of their shows -- without giving up their own edgy way of doing things. The works were varied, all having to do mostly with technological changes, from a collection of schematics and early circuit boards/components, to small beautiful drawings from Bradley Kokay, to flying saucers, R. Giger-like paintings, to a painting of a woman wakening to the fact that she is part cyborg. From Gallery 2, a blue glow emerged. Inside, there were rows of controls with rows of knobs on the surface, and a corresponding row of monitors flashing blue. To the side appeared to be an old Atari and a Commodore 64 computer. Red chairs before them. Several people showed up in costume, including Emmy Lou, Brad Kokay, Rachel Coderre and several guys in lab coats. Part of the show was a green-screen studio wherein people performed having no idea what else shared the screen in the monitor inside the gallery. The blue room had been transformed into the Compound's Command Module Control Room. It smelled like Futures Past. Later on, Jesse Vance performed a concert from that room. I drove back to Tampa.
PS. The Mini-Cooper drove well, handled well in typical front wheel drive fashion, was quiet and cruised at 75mph easily, but it was revvy in town, a little cramped, and the ergonomics, particularly the display and controls did not suit me. It was really pretty in copper and black. If looks could kill...