Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Weekend, Sept. 30th - Oct. 2nd

Transformative Influences Part II @ Mindy Solomon - Theo Wujcik, Master Printer, drawer and painter from Tamarind studios, Graphic Studio, USF and much more is shown with Chinese sculptor Wanxin Zhang, David Fuhrman, Beth Lo, and Diane Ding.

Opening reception @ 6:30 PM Saturday, Oct 2, runs through Nov 3. 124 2nd Ave NE, St Pete. Hrs: Wed-Sat from 11:00 Am to 5:00 PM.

Fashion @ Creative Native Gallery - "A celebration of the art of fashion, faces and figures".

Opening reception Saturday, Oct 2, 5-9 PM, 5307 Falkenburg Road, Tampa. Through Oct 30th.

Midtown Through Our Eyes - Annual exhibition of photographs taken by 44 students from Midtown elementary, middle and high schools. An area in which decent people valiantly struggle to overcome poverty, racism and crime during these already hard times.

Opening reception Friday, Oct 1. Studio @ 620, 620 1st Ave S.  St Pete.Oct 1-8. Poetry on Tue. Oct 5th and Thurs. Oct 7th, 6-8 PM. Taste of Midtown, Friday Oct 8 5-8 PM.

Open Mics - @ Cafe Bohemia in St. Petersburg, and Cafe Hey in Tampa.

Thursday, Sept. 30th. Cafe Bohemia, 937 Central Ave St Pete, starts around 7:30. Cafe Hey, Tampa, 7-9 PM.

Singing Stone Gallery: Sandra Jarrett - Collage & painting, with live demonstration.

Meet the artist, on Sat, Oct 2, 10 AM - 4 PM, 1903 N. 19th st. Tampa.

Folkfest/Creative Clay Gallery -  An arts festival with the Creative Clay artists showing their wares on Central Ave., great music concerts, and food. Saturday and Sunday at the 1100-1300 block of Central Avenue St Pete. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fill The Jugs @ Cafe Hey

Last Saturday, Cafe Hey held a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. As usual at the cafe, Door Stop productions, headed by Nyssa Hanger hosted.

The show began in the cafe, with "Dr. Dre", AKA Andrea, singing the "Lightbulb Song" in her high-pitched gentle voice. The "Facial Hair" song followed, a funny and insightful song about relationships.

By the N. window, Nicole painted faces beautifully. People sat at the sidewalk tables and milled around the tables with the silent auctions, raffle tickets and more.

Andrea's sister Immeka followed. Relaxed and confident onstage, she sang several songs & joked with the audience. She sang "Long Road Home", "Terra (sic) Incognito", and the delightful Kraaken song about a mythical friend that lives underwater (reminiscent of, but happier than an old Peter, Pal and Mary song titled: "Puff The Magic Dragon"). She closed with a moving interpretation of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Incredibly, Immeka is fourteen years old.

Outside, a beautiful belly-dancer shimmied gracefully across the sidewalk between the main of the cafe, and its annex. Larry started the music in that room with an earnest and spirited "Get the job done".
His song about Jim Morrison ("A guy looking for his muse is hard to find") honored the process of becoming an artist. Larry, who teaches music to some of the other musicians mentioned, was followed by Grazieli, who played guitar and sang in her low, sultry voice. You can see a video of her singing at Cafe Hey during another event here.

Back in the main room of the cafe, Cole read his mythological and awesome poem "Alligator".

Joe Riga did his ironic brand of comedy. He was followed by 'Eternal', who read his sad, hopeful and beautifully passionate poem, "Desperate".

Comedienne Jennifer was outrageously funny. Nyssa H. came in and did her "What's The Word?" interactive poem with the audience, then Jena Maroni, who will be walking the 60 miles for the Walkathon for the Foundation closed the night, talking about the foundation, cried through her appreciative smile along with all of us, talked about survivors, and the three days of walking that lie ahead.

It was an enjoyable, memorable and purposeful evening at Cafe Hey.

--- Luis

Friday, September 24, 2010

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Mic @ Cafe Hey

 Spoken-word performances convey an immediate, intense vitality and connection between those onstage and in the audience. At Cafe Hey, a significant percentage of those present assume both roles on Open Mic night.

Last night, teen-aged Iris endearingly explored philosophical questions about empathy, stupidity and discovering the Darwin Awards, all with a frank transparency that is all hers.

  "Dr. Dre" humorously, and with a good dose of irony, portrayed what it might have been like if Hamlet had a contemporary girlfriend and gender issues to go with it.

Larry sang and played guitar. His rendition of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust excelled last night. He was followed by the aptly named Gracieli, who did two songs (one about vampires) in another language, either Italian or Portuguese. She has a strong, powerful and subtle style and voice. I didn't understand a word she said, but the feelings came across through tone, inflection, etc. Sometimes the spoken word doesn't have to be understood to be experienced at a sensual level.

The duo of Rene and Sladjan, playing guitar and bongo, had an authentic bohemian sound going back to the early 60's. Stacie sang what she calls her "cute song" at ease. Yes, the song is cute, but not in a sappy, saccharine way. Staci is even cuter. Sean followed, the two of them come across as practiced, seasoned performers.

Mistress of Ceremonies, partner in Doorstop Productions, which hosts Open Mic, and versatile poetess Nyssa Hanger performed at the break and at closing, when she did a sprightly and heartfelt rendition of a Michael Jackson song.

Richie read a beautiful love-poem he'd written as a present to his girlfriend, on how love happens, and sends roots, branches and flowers between us. Sean Ryan sang a few pop songs, a difficult thing to do a cappella, but he did it well. Eric read one poem written about a girlfriend and the course love sometimes takes.

Such a diverse set of psychic energies expressed in a plurality of ways.

It was the Fall Equinox, one of two days when light and dark equal out on the balance beam, and so they did at Cafe Hey last night.

Thanks to all, and specially Nyssa Hanger and Cafe Hey for another memorable evening.

--- Luis

Cafe Hey, 1540 N.Franklin St Tampa. Open Mic is Thursday evening from 7 PM -9PM. Free.

Ps. This Saturday, Sept 25th, Cafe Hey/Door Stop Productions are having an event called "Fill The Jugs", with more poetry, song, comedy, silent auction, body paint and much more, all to raise money for the Susan G Komen foundation. Please donate some $ to this worthy cause while there. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This Weekend: Sept 24th-26th

Sapience @ C. Emerson Gallery - C. Emerson Fine Arts  opens "Sapience",a conceptual theme-less show nucleated around multiple points of view in a dialogue with life. Six artists working in a variety of media are featured: Kyan Bishop, Neverne Covington, Francesco LoCastro, Sally Mankus, Kim Radatz, and Mara Rivet.

"Sapience" opens on Friday, Sept. 24th, 6-9 PM, @ 909 Central Ave., St Petersburg. 727.898.6068
For more information click here.

Free Museum Day - Go to and download your own free tickets to any bay area museum listed there for a free visit on Saturday, Sept 25th.

Thursday Night Open Mic - Poetry, Song, Comedy, Rants and more. Experience the power of the spoken word live and in person at these two cafes tonight (Thursday, Sept 23rd), and for free, though do indulge yourself to a cuppa joe (or beer at Bohemia) and goodies there.

Cafe Bohemia, 937 Central Ave. St Petersburg. Starts around 8 PM. Try the Falafels, they're exquisite.

Cafe Hey, 1540 N. Franklin Street, just N. of the interstate. I can vouch for the brownies there. Reportedly their soups and specially the Cuban sandwich are not to be missed. Ps. If you have an old bra you can donate, please bring it. Cafe Hey is decorating for....

Fill The Jugs- Music, Poetry, Comedy, Raffle, Silent Auction, Body Painting and more, Saturday Sept 25th, all to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation to fight breast cancer. Please make a donation while there for this worthy cause. Free Admission. At Cafe Hey (see listing above), 7-11 PM.

Expanded Visions @ Clayton Galleries - New Work by Stacy Rosende, Roberta Schofield, Joyce Ely-Walker, and Kathy Wright.

Opens Friday, Sept 24th, 7-9 PM. Through Oct 30th. 4105 S. McDill Ave. 813.831.3753

Shift @ Tempus Projects - Works from fifteen artists.
Opens Friday, Sept 24th. 7-10 PM, through Oct 1st. At 5132 N. Florida Avenue.

Florida Watercolor Society @ Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art - The Florida Watercolor Society shows its best members' work at its 39th Annual Convention.
Opens Friday, Sept 24th, 5:20-8:00 PM @ 600 Klosterman  Road, Tarpon Springs. It is situated on the Campus of the community college there. Through Nov 7th.

--- Luis

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Max Ehrman Eon 75 @ Collective Tattoo Gallery

Dozens of cans of spray paint plus special nozzles equals tagging, right?  Not always. Max Ehrman has a degree in architecture. He told me in conversation that he was academically trained and making art using brushes until he saw a tagger at work in Gainesville in 1996: "Daim and Seemso (Kane7) came through and did a memorial wall for a kid that had died, it was the most amazing piece of art I had ever seen! I walked to the wall the next day and just stared at the characters and the Daim and Seemso pieces, I had never seen graffiti executed with level of precision and mastery. Frankly I didn't even think it was possible."

Max renamed himself "Quad", ran out, bought a dozen cans of Krylon, and changed his life. He picked up the technique and started doing legal graffiti murals. See here. He uses the same spray-paint techniques on large canvas works, including that being shown at the Collective.

He later changed his name to Eon 75, as an acronym for "Extermination of Normality", after an old-school Bronx crew. 75 is the year he was born. Max still uses Quad, as well as Asco & Eace on ocassion, changing styles and names. He works with his own crew, Alosta, and HBT, WAF, Lords and WCF crews as well.

A native of Naples currently living in San Francisco, on Haight and Ashbury, no less. Max says the subtropical floridian vegetation has affected him deeply, including the work at this show. They are organic, lush, fertile, sensuous and colorful forms with a palpable joyful reverence for Nature. He describes his own style as "organic, funk, sci-fi", and uses things in threes as a motif.

The pieces in the show border on the decorative in terms of color and flowing forms, but go further, presenting deeply autobiographical, life affirming forms.

--- Luis

Collective Tattoo & Gallery, 601 Central Avenue, St Petersburg. The Show runs into mid-October.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's No One You Know @ Donna Gordon Gallery

Some people think  of portraits as things to own because they depict you or your loved ones, a kind of mnemonic fetish, similar to a snapshot, only on a grander, more displayable scale. The collectible portrait extends well beyond that, and has a long-standing tradition in Art. See here.  

The show at the Donna Gordon Gallery and Studio has the work of many area portraitists. Jack Barrett was a well-known portraitist-illustrator for the St. Petersburg Times newspaper and fine artist. His work spans a wide stylistic range from detailed realism to near-total abstraction. A lot of his figures are self-referential, and over the years included repeating symbols and motifs. His posthumous retrospective show at the Morean back in 2008, specially the magnificent glimpse of the artist's sketchbooks, lingers in memory to this day. There is a wide range of Barrett's work in the Gordon gallery, including some very affordable pieces. My favorite at this show is an unframed picture of a harlequin drawn with incredible energy.

David Roland is a genre Fine Art portraitist who works with Floridian subjects, focused on people of the Florida Keys.  In this show, there are several of his "Conchy Joes" series, and other works as well, including a langurous portrait of his Muse-Wife as a Venus on the water sans shell, with mathematical equations around her.

Joe Steiner is an accomplished Chicago observational figurative painter who paints from life. His work has been featured in many of the best galleries in the Windy City. He delves well below the parts of the subject that reflect light or gesture.

Curtis Sneary is an Ohio transplant, now living nearly a decade in St Pete, who has done illustrations for magazines and ad work, as well as paintings randing from the sensuously introspective to pointedly ironic and humorous. Here is a wide sampling of his work. He also has an amazing piece on the oil spill at the current Morean Member's Art Show.

There are many other artists in this well-curated show, including Ms. Gordon's insightful, sensuous and psychological bronzes, Cecilia Lueza's dreamy, glowing, flowing figures, and Michael Assif's beguiling Halloween portraits of children masquerading as other characters while simultaneously being themselves.

This show of collectible and beautiful figurative works raises questions about identity, portraiture, and not just of the people inside the frame, but those of us standing before it.

--- Luis

Ps. The show opened on Sept 10th, and runs through December 9th. It can be seen at Donna Gordon Gallery and Studio, @ 625 Central, St Petersburg. Open Tue-Sat, noon to six PM. 727.827.2811

Pps. Donna Gordon is a business veteran. Retired after 17 years in the investment and finance industries, she's also a renowned bronze figurative sculptor with work in many collections at the national level, owner of the Donna Gordon Gallery & Studio at 625 Central St Petersburg, and a board member at the Gulfport Art Center. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday Open Mic @ Cafe Hey

Last night I had the pleasure of attending Cafe Hey's Open Mic night. Doorstop Productions hosts this event, with poetess Nyssa Hanger as Mistress of Ceremonies and guiding spirit. The poetic rant she did as a quasi ad/paean to Cafe Hey at Deep Carnivale was memorable.

The intimate space at the cafe was packed. There were some outstanding acts, as well as emerging talents, and some obviously influenced by karaoke and American Idol-atry. Nyssa's mom made her debut at the mic, as did at least two other poetesses, all delivering good performances. One of the strengths of Cafe Hey is the wide range of performances, including ages. There's a real talent-nurturing attitude going on there.

Cafe Hey, 1540 N.Franklin St Tampa. Open Mic is Thursday evening from 7 PM -9PM. Free.

---  Luis

Congratulations to Best of The Bay and Reader's Award Winners

The following friends of Art Taco have been recognized by Creative Loafing in their Best of The Bay issue:

 Best Falafel - Cafe Bohemia. I can personally vouch for this one.

Best Alternative Cuban - Cafe Hey (going to have to do some research on this one)

Best Local Java - Cafe Kahwa. Excellent indie coffee and a great place to enjoy it.

Best Actress - Dahlia Legault, whose performance in Everything's a Dream at Deep Carnivale dazzled.

Best Gallery - Mindy Solomon, whose first year in the St Pete community has been stellar.

Best Art-Based Community Revival - The 600 block, whose impact on the community is blooming.

Best Painter - Mernet Larsen, whose work threads directly into our inner lives, through hers.

People's Choice - Vitale Studio

Congratulations to all.

--- Luis

Cathedral Submerged @ Collective Tattoo Gallery

In 1910, Claude Debussy composed a prelude titled "La Cathedral Engloutie" (The Sunken Cathedral). It is based on a Breton Legend, about the city of Ys, built below sea level, off what is today the Bay of Douarnenez.  Due to a corrupt Queen named Dahut who had a Praying (more like Preying) Mantis habit of killing her lovers at dawn the morning after and hosting orgies, the sea turned stormy and angry in protest, and washed over the dikes and the gates were sabotaged by a Knight in Red. Dahut quickly went on to become a mermaid. The Welsh, btw, have a very similar myth. The name Par-is, in Breton, means "similar to Ys".

The Sunken Cathedral rises above the waters on a full moon and when the water is transparent. The sound of its pipe organ and its bells can be heard far inland.

As Catholicism dominated the landscape of Europe, eradicating everything that preceded it in a form of religious "cleansing", building cathedrals directly on the sacred sites of prior faiths, their adherents went underground, and in this case, their cathedral went figuratively underwater.

Miami-based Cuban emigre' Yolyanko Arguelles, who is fascinated with the occult, has recontextualized this legend into the present in a series called "La Catedral Sumergida", "The Submerged Cathedral", composed of exquisite figure line drawings, often several to one work . I had the opportunity to converse in Spanish with  Mr. Arguelles at the opening of the show. He has won the grand prize for animation at Art Basel Miami. Twice. He told me he is still working on and refining an animation of La Catedral Sumergida, something I would love to see.

Some of the themes he explores in this series are those of evolution and potential, both personal and humanity's, in general. See here. And here This Cathedral also symbolizes what we lost, and central to this is femininity. The immersion in water, emergence based on the lunar calendar, all harken back to the time when Goddesses roamed our world and rolled out the stars at night, when there was healing of the entire being, and not just medical practice, when mercy was as important as  law, and we had a plurality of codes to live by. Yolyanko's is not merely a nostalgic, sentimental vision, but a futuristic, energized, hopeful one, a longing for a fusion between what we lost and what we are, forward-looking to what we might be.

Collective Tattoo and Gallery is rapidly distinguishing itself as one of the premier galleries in the area with consistently well-curated shows, well-orchestrated, lavish openings impeccable space, and most of all, non-mainstream, high-quality work.

--- Luis

Collective Tattoo & Gallery, 601 Central Avenue, St Petersburg. The Show runs into mid-October.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

This Weekend: 16th - 18th

The Habit, @ Silver Meteor Gallery - A play about a religiously devout woman at a turning point in her life. By Wilson Loria.

Silver Meteor Gallery, 2213 E. Sixth Ave. Ybor City. 8 PM Saturday, 4 PM Sunday. Admission $14 at the door. 727.656.8053.

Art After Dark @ Tampa Museum of Art - An Art party that's very popular with the Tampa community, and a delightful way to spend an evening. This one is DJ'ed by Brian Oblivion, and has a light show to riff off of Dominique Labauvie and more. Friday, Sept 17thm 8-11 PM, @ Tampa. Free for Members, $10 otherwise.

Gulfport Art Walk - Over three dozen local artists and craftsmen in a sidewalk show. Check out the Industrial Arts Center while there. Art Taco is partial to the Chicago-Style hot dogs in the little restaurant in that Plaza. This is a wonderful evening in a charming waterside burg.
Saturday, 6 - 10 PM, Beach Boulevard, Gulfport.

Sweet Dreams, Dali -With four months left before the Museum moves to its new digs, the Zodiac Group is putting on a desserts and drinks party.

1000 Third St. S. St Petersburg. 8 PM - 11 PM. Saturday. Admission: $50 in advance, $60 day of the event. 727.823.3762 ext 3013

Bill Doolin and Neta Pulvermacher at Moving Current - The opening of this dance company's 14th season brings in guest choreographers. Ms. Pulvermacher's work involves many dancers and buckets (!).

8 PM Friday and Saturday, 2 PM Sunday, @ USF Theater, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa. Admission $15, $10 for students & seniors. Cash or check only at the door. No credit/debit cards. 813.237.0216

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Personal Notes III: Deep Carnivale

For Sunday, the Deep Carnivale moved from the Ybor HCC Performing Arts complex over to a small, intimate venue: The Silver Meteor Gallery, which, for all practical purposes, is a juke joint-type place hiding out by the tracks in Ybor City.

The place had been painted black and USF students, in the spirit of the exquisite corpse, made over a dozen paintings on the otherwise stygian, flat black walls. Several of the poets from the festival read, or more to the point, performed, in what used to be a cigar-roller's shotgun shack-style house. The name comes from the idea that if one opened the front and back doors, you could fire a shotgun through it without hitting anything. No walls. And that idea was palpable, as poet after poet's voices ran free through the house, all the hearts gathered there, and out into the world at large.

Voices like Diana Ferguson, Melissa Fair, Linda Alexander, David Durney, Enid Shormer, Summer Rodman, Doreen Horn, Kim Buchheit and Silvia Curbelo. Rachel Leona Kapitan's Gardener was like a religious revelation. Rachel didn't just read and/or gesture her poetry. She was possessed by it, and I by her performance.

Art Taco wants to congratulate David Audet and all the people whose considerable efforts made this festival
an extraordinary experience, for bringing this here, and for citizens of all ages and economic means. Thank you.

--- Luis

It's a Gallery! Station Number Three is Born.

St. Petersburg real estate mogul-ette and owner of Times Square property company, Maryann Lynch, has turned what used to be Fire Station Number Three, a 3,200 sq. ft. building from the 1940s into Station Number Three, St Petersburg's newest Art gallery. Ms. Lynch titles herself as "creator", and has four administrators, including Thomas Hamilton (musician), Tim Thompson (director of sales & rentals), Amy Swanson (?) and the inimitable, one and only JoEllen Schilke (owner of the Globe cafe', hostess of the WMNF radio art show, gallerista and local Diosa).

On Station Number Three's Facebook page, in the discussions area, JoEllen sagely asks: " What is the purpose of an Art Gallery?". I know this is not a rhetorical question coming from Jo Ellen. Now is the time to go there and contribute your ideas.

Saturday evening, Station Number Three opened its doors to the public. The spacious building is "finished" in industrial chic, which is to say that it looks raw, with bare brick, pipes, conduits and all the other things that normally lie hidden behind wallboard exposed. The building was owned by the Urban League for years, and used as storage. Ms. Lynch had the place steam-cleaned then clear-coated (just like one's car) with polyurethane. 

It was a first-class opening, with delightful music (provided by Tom Hamilton, one of the directors & Wilder duo, ), great art by Frank Strunk III, David Williams,  John Revisky, Cindy Mason, and Claudia Strano. The gallery got an adjacent street closed to display a new fire truck, and enable valet parking. There were two police cruisers parked outside the building, and there were enough police/guards inside that for a moment I thought it was a performance art piece!  There was a cornucopia of excellent hor doeuvres, and three or more bars.

A free-roaming blonde videographer wandered around, and eventually corraled me on a couch, and video'd me with an ultra-wide lens about 10" from my face. Cruel and unusual lenswork, in my opinion. Like everyone else, I gushed about the opening.

Here is where I would normally review the work, but when I was there, unbelievably, the art was not tagged. No titles, no artists, no prices. Maryann assured me they were on their way. I had other gallery openings to tend to that evening, but it's a great excuse for an encore visit. I clearly recognized Frank Strunk III's distressed metalwork textural poems, which fit in very well with the distressed interior. One piece, a sheetmetal rusty dollar, this one in waveform, almost like a fluttering flag, perhaps a comment on the love of money? 

I had a brief chat with the affable Ms. Lynch, and would like to wish her a warm welcome, and a Happy Zero Birthday to Station Number Three.

--- Luis

Monday, September 13, 2010

Personal Notes II: Deep Carnivale

  Saturday we met with friend Brian for a late breakfast, and went back to Deep Carnivale. I noticed from the guest sign-in at the gallery that C. Emerson owner Lori was there, though we unfortunately didn't see her. In the lobby, there were tables set up, with racks full of dresses, jackets and other outfits, feathered boas and hats, and clusters of children thrilled to be playing dress-up, and parents posing alongside them, beaming.

In a large room a little further down the hall, volunteers from several groups, including the women from the Dali Museum, kept scores of kids laughing, doing crafts, and entertaining them. Onstage, various poets read poetry specifically for kids over the music of their laughter.

Greeting people coming in through the main entrance was none other than Ferdie Pacheco, Doctor, screenwriter, novelist, painter, cultural treasure, and Master Raconteur. He was there to sign books, but what a consummate pleasure and rare opportunity it was to be able to sit at arm's length from this renaissance man and listen to him tell Ybor stories.

At the Main Stage there were John Guzzo and Paul Fisher talking and showing their historical Graphic Novel, Blood is Thicker, and the real-life issues of bringing it to the public. Hopefully, they will consider Blurb-type print-on-demand books for their novel in the future.

The HCC Dancers performed The Birth of Astro Boy, by Tom Mc Gowan.

James Tokley Sr, Tampa Poet Laureate, read from his riveting story, "Purl". Poetry and prose are wonderful, but having the chance of hearing them read by their authors, live, squares the circle and is  one of the many things this festival brings to the community, and on Saturday, it was all for free.

Sadly, Art Taco had to leave early in order to make several gallery openings that evening...

--- Luis

Road Tripping: Landscapes and Memories @ Kahwah Cafe South

The American Road Trip is a long-standing tradition among photographers, from Jackson, O'Sullivan and others to Ryan McGinley and  Robert Frank in between. Each photographer sees a different America. Nick Nicks started out with local landmarks, like in "Harold's Auto", which shows that dinosaur-shaped gas station building north of here. Another familiar landmark are the Hillsborough River 'rapids'. These photographs serve to heighten the contrast between the familiar and unfamiliar landscapes as Nick takes us West.

We can deduce his route from the landscapes and titles. "Delicate Arch", which is beautifully composed, is in Utah. Two photographs, "La Junta", and "Across T-10 Peaks, Telluride, Colorado" define the route, but also have very odd greenish tints and badly burnt out clouds.

Out of fifteen displayed photographs, six are of distant, majestic mountains or other rock formations. I remember Nick's "El Camino Seen" from the recent "Photo-Graphein" show at Vitale's gallery.

--- Luis

The show opened on Sept 7th. No closing date given. It may be seen at Kahwah Cafe South, @ 204 2nd Ave South. St Petersburg. Hours: M-F 7:30 AM - 7:00 PM. Sat -Sun 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM Free.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Personal Notes: Deep Carnivale

If tonight's any indication, and there's every reason to believe it was, make time on Saturday (which is free, though you sould make a donation, because this is so good you'll feel guilty if you don't) and/or Sunday for this Festival of the word and photography, dance, poetry, theater, and more.

David Audet has been doing this for a few years and it keeps getting better. The HCC Dancers performed an interpretive dance to a poem written by several poets in the art gallery. Congratulations to Jeoffry Anderson, Brittany Dell, Alexandra Dyer, Tia Johnson and Rachel Rodriguez for an impressive performance, which you will have the chance of seeing at 11:00 AM on Saturday.

In the same art gallery is a faculty show titled "East Meets West", from the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies at Daytona State College. It's a good, eclectic mix of the work of powerhouse faculty talent at Daytona State College.  Also open on Saturday.

Ronny Elliott put on a combination rambling, very funny and at times poignant narrative and expert guitar-based rock 'n roll and a bit of a gospel on rock 'n roll and humanism. When the Deity was handing out Passion, he gave Mr. Elliott a big, dripping wedge, and he's kept the fire going. 

In the Mainstage, another group of HCC dancers, choreographed by Tom McGowan, performed "Birth of Astro Boy" before a projected background of the original 1964 "Astro Boy". They will give another performance on Saturday at 2:30 PM at The Rehearsal Hall.

The Alley Cat Players put on a short play/beautiful adaptation of a Midsummer's Night Dream, by Marc Wellman titled "Anything's Dream".  Actresses Dahlia Legault and Nicole J. Smith were outstanding, performing this magical and mysterious, richly philosophical play with a brilliant mix of precision, apparent spontaneity and grace. Kudos to all.

Richard and Mary Ellen di Pietra's one-act, one-man play, "I am a Cuban Sandwich", performed con sabor by Richard was a nostalgic look back at the heyday of Ybor, with forward-looking questions about what we lost and who we are today. It will be performed again Saturday or Sunday. 

The five finalists for the poetry contest gave a collectively stunning performance onstage, and the winners were: Aleshea Harris, whose complex, funny, poignant poem about breasts dazzled the audience.  Nyssa Hanger's poetry this evening plumbed the depths of language and letters, sound and feeling.  Nora Garrett's pinball-machine themed poems from her book, The Pastor's Wife, delivered a quietly explosive personal passion.

Tomorrow, the festival runs from 9:00 AM to 5:30. Treat yourself and tweet you friends. Bring your children, there's wonderful, age-appropriate, creative activities for you to share. Did I mention tomorrow it's free?

[If I seem a little enthusiastic about this Festival, it's because I'm restraining from gushing about it.]

See the This Weekend post for more information.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

This Weekend: Sept. 10th-12th.

David Audet's Deep Carnivale: A Celebration of Words - An extraordinary festival of Art, Poetry, Songwriting,  Journalists, visual artists and Literature, complete with workshops, readings and live performances taking place in Ybor city Friday ($5 admission), Saturday (free admission) and Sunday ($2 admission). Bring your children, there's activities designed expressly for them. Friday and Saturday, Sept 11th - 12th, at HCC Performing Arts Building on the Ybor City Campus, Tampa, 2112 N. 15th St. Sunday, Sept 12th @ Silver Meteor Gallery for the Mortis Art Show, 2PM, 2213 E. Sixth Ave N. Ybor City Tampa. Friday hrs: 7 PM - 9 PM. Saturday, 9 AM - 5:30 PM, Sunday 2 PM - 6 PM.

UR Toy Story Mail Art Show - Mail Art (CMA) was popularized by Fluxus artists, originating with Fluxus Bucks, out of Texas, then Ray Johnson took it a notch higher. Put on by Jennifer Koshareck, whose work also encompasses miniature painting. Mail art is now widely recognized and in many major collections.

At Artpool, opening opens Sat. Sept 11th, 7:00 PM. 919 First Ave N. St Petersburg. $15 admission @ the door, which includes one drink and appetizers. Normal operating hours: Tuesday - Thursday 12:00 - 6:00 PM. Fri & Sat, noon to 7 PM.

Station Number Three Art Gallery Grand Opening: "Fascination" - This ex-Fire Station nee Art Gallery opens its doors for the first time on Saturday, Sept 11th, at 6:00 PM. Cindy Mason, John Revisky, Claudia Strano, Frank Strunk III and David Williams will headline this first show. Station Number Three Art Gallery, 2701 Fifth Ave S. St Petersburg. Free.

It's No One You Know @ Donna Gordon Gallery - A show devoted to portraiture, with Jack Barrett, Michael Assiff, Donna Gordon, Cecilia Lueza, Scott Moore, Andrea Pejack, Hugo Porcero, David Roland, Curtis Sneary, and Joe Steiner. Opens Friday, Sept 10th, closes Dec 9th, @ Donna Gordon Gallery, 625 Central Avenue, St Petersburg. 727.827.2811 Free.

Scarfone Gallery University of Tampa Faculty Show - Opening Friday, Sept 10th @ 5:30 PM.Closes Oct. 7th. Open Tue-Fri 10-4 PM, and Sunday, 1-4 PM. Bailey Art Studios, University of Tampa, 310 N. Boulevard, Tampa. 813.253.6217

Collective Gallery and Creative Space's  2nd Exhibit - Opens Saturday, Sept 11th, 7-11 PM, @ 601 Central Ave. St Petersburg. 727.851.6767 No closing date given.

Fabricated @ Florida Craftsmen - Sculptures that look like fabric art, but are made from sugar, flour and spices in an exploration of gender. Opens 5:30 Friday, Sept 10th, ends Nov 6th. @ Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave. St Petersburg. 727.821.7391 Free]

Metaphor and Mystery @ Cakewalk Artist's Co-op - Opening reception Sat. Sept 11th, 5PM. 1114 Central Ave. St Petersburg. 727.410.3874

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Study in Self-Portraiture: "Moi" @ Artful Living

 It should be mentioned that there's only eleven (11) works in "Moi", the current show at Artful Living, and two of the works are from the co-curators, Missy Roll and Melissa Van der Laak. Considering there are five good-sized walls available, plus a portion of a sixth, this show is unlike most, where wallspace is maximally utilized to hang art. And the theme, the Self-Portrait, is something almost every artist does. Missy told me Artful Living is looking for artists that haven't been exhibited before, a commendable mission for any gallery curator.

Among the highlights: Julie Dye's "Neither Here nor There". The artist-photographer lies wrapped in a blue sheet (or dress?) on a bed, her head away from the viewer, below a window, on a matching blue bedspread. The effect is partially serene, with some underlying tensions mostly raised by what cannot be seen.

In a corner of a room painted green, a pair of raised arms intrude into the frame of a large vertical photographic print, with dance-like hand gestures. Its title, "Black Tarantula",  affects how we read the image, casting the gestures into perhaps threatening ones.

Appropriately titled {for this show) "I am me", Melissa Van der Laak's mixed media work was a stand-out in this show. Consisting of a small (12x16?) frame, with a black background. Centered, near the top is a doily about three or four inches in diameter. There's a lock of Melissa's blonde hair pinned to it. Below, there's a window cut-out from the background, revealing white paper beneath, in which the artist write (approximately) "Sixty per cent of women change their hair after a break-up". It sounds simple, and it is. Effective, too.

The shows at Artful Living continue to improve, but this one left us wanting more in terms of the quantity of work exhibited.

"Moi" opened on Sept 3rd, and closes on Sept 25th. Artful Living is at 1100 First Ave North, St Petersburg. 727.821. 2255 Hours (from  memory, so you may want to call) run from about 10 AM - 5PM.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Way Forward: The Road Less Traveled at the Morean Arts Center

The Morean Arts Center, in one form or another, has been around since 1917. Before its current incarnation, it was the Arts Center, Arts Center Association, and began as the Art Club. Its mission has always been to exhibit and provide arts classes to members of the community of all ages, along with lectures by artists and much more. The Morean's most recent achievement has been to bring the Chilhuly Collection to the Downtown Arts District, a landmark arts destination, to St. Petersburg.

Currently, the Morean Art Center's membership is at 2,700 households. Once a year, the Center exhibits the work of member-artists, along with a month's worth of events to celebrate the exhibition, including workshops, critiques, and works for sale.

Opening night for this show was one of the best-attended events in the Central Arts District in some time. Those who went also got to vote for the People's Choice and participate in a visual Arts Scavenger Hunt among the nearly two-hundred works exhibited. This exhibit is non-juried, according to the website, but the brochure for the show states that it was juried by guest juror Adam Justice, Curator at the Polk Museum of Art..

With any non-juried member's show, one might expect a wide range in the quality of the work, but this is not the case. Participants were encouraged to show work "using unorthodox or unusual materials", a "remote place", or "innovative idea". The Way Forward has many lanes.

Curtis Sneary's "What Now Professor?", an acrylic and oil painting, showed the cast of Gilligan's Island knee-deep in a wetland setting, except they are no longer in a paradaisical island, but a wetland ruined by an oil spill. The Captain and Professor are holding an oil-covered, dying brown pelican and Gilligan asks the question of the title. Science makes so many things possible, but can it heal  Nature from disasters like this?

The New York City Skyline is something we can close our eyes and see from memory. Jean Marie DeSpiegler's "NY-NY" ingenious silver empire bracelet makes it possible to wear it on one's wrist.

Evoking American Indian history, cycles and traditions, Cheryl Yellowhawk's mixed media piece "We Begin Again" is simultaneously nostalgic and forward-looking, renewal depicted in earthen Western colors.

One of St Petersburg's great photographers, Joe Walles, deviated from his figurative street photography to bring us "Bok Lair", and enigmatic, dark and exquisitely detailed near-abstract, part of which is a spider and its web.

Innovative, abstract, yet formally discernable thanks to the title, Ann Webb's "Coming Through The Rye" ink on watercolor paper drawing seduces the viewer into the field.

Hanging vertically on the edge of a wall were Wendy Bruce's exquisite, beguiling series of small (4 or 5 inch) square-framed mixed-media pieces comprising one work titled "Underlying Connections". Delicate bits of blue string, a few beads, all on or in a milky blue background. When it comes to mystery, sometimes less is infinitely more. Ms. Bruce got Art Taco's vote in the People's Choice Award.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."     
                                                          --- Robert Frost


PS. The Morean Arts Center Member's Show can be seen at 719 Central Avenue St. Petersburg, FL 33701 Sept 3rd-26th. 727.822.7872   Hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 6pm Sun 12pm - 6pm.

PPS. Kudos to Sharon Steel, Graphic Designer and Webmaster for The Morean Arts Center for her beautiful work.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tim Jaeger & Joshua T. Pearson @ Vitale Art Studio

Large, close-up paintings of roosters, done in mixed-media acrylics mixed with water and enamel. The series is titled "Cocksuckers". Tim Jaeger attacks his canvases, almost like an action painter, in large, vectored, saturated colors, sometimes nearing abstraction. The roosters, he says, are vehicles of expression. They can be seen here. Some are introspective-looking, others stare intensely at the viewer. The compositions depend equally on color which is democratic, with the backgrounds as significant as the figures, and line. One is often led to the roosters' eye(s). There are also human figures, all women, "Stuntwomen", in the Vitale show, with mostly drab-looking skin, and splashes of color. They are more about the painter's response to the subject than the subjects themselves. Many look lost in introspection. Unlike the Roosters, they're not confrontational and loud. Jaeger's drawings of roosters, titled 'Chicken Scratch' are among the best of the work shown. Precise, much more expressive and dripping with character than enslaved to realism.

Joshua Pearson also paints animals and the human figure. His work is formally more restrained, more graphic and dependent on line. Some of it seems derived from graffiti. There's an octopus painted mostly behind plexiglass (with a few dabs of texture on top) somewhat similar to this one. The colors are carefully modulated, they do not overwhelm line or form. Content ranges from animals of various kinds, including this one, which in the show has transitioned from drawing to painting, a  hybrid, where a truck with two traffic cones on its hood is also a rhinoceros. The human figures often have political overtones. The current president makes an appearance. There are gold stars, the kind the army gives to families that have sons and daughters in war, in several pictures.

This show seemed a little soft on theme, and the artists quite different from each other. I thought of it as more of two one-man shows simultaneously occupying the same space.

See at Vitale Art Studio, 651 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. 727.520.0969  No closing date given.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

This Labor Day Weekend: Sept. 3rd - 6th.

Gulfport Art Walk - Over 40 sidewalk show artists and crafters, along with live music and a beachside setting that makes for a very pleasant lazy afternoon. Friday, @ 6:00 PM. Pets welcome.

Gulfport, on Beach Boulevard, S. of 28th Ave.727.289.9365  Free.

Ybor City First Saturday Art Walk - Stop at any of these locations: Ybor Art Studio, Ybor City Museum, Gallery 519, Ybor Art Colony, 01 Organic Gallery, Agora Ethnic Arts, The Photo Lounge, Jezebel's Gypsies, Roosevelt Galleries, Arnold Martinez or The Ritz Ybor, and get an all-important map.

Ybor City First Saturday Art Walk, 813.495.4649 11-6 PM.

Members' Exhibit @ Morean Arts Center - An Annual member's show around a loose theme. Over 200 works will be displayed. Concurrently, "Margaret Steward: Crossing" Opens Friday, Sept 4th. at 5:30 PM

Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave, St. Petersburg. Through Sept 26th. 727.822.7872  Free

The Great Frame-up: Lloyd Johnson - Mixed media work by this local artist. Opens Friday, Sept 3rd, 6-9 PM.  Runs through Sept 30th. 3810 Neptune St. Tampa 813.254.5423  Free

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Truth & A Life In Progress at Studio @ 620

This show is a curious pairing of the work of Jake Cline, a painter, and J.R. Duffy, an illustrator. Duffy has the front gallery, with a beautiful portfolio of strikingly well-conceived, chromatically fluent and skillfully executed illustrations, many for stories and themes well-known in our culture, including fairy tales in children's books a series themed on beer, with esoteric symbology from the Holy Grail to the spirits of the fields in the last sheaf of barley, and much, much more.  All with a decidedly cosmic twist. There's a few pieces that seem to be done strictly as art, too. J.R. is a graduate from the Ringling School of Art & Design and a freelance illustrator.

In this illustration for a children's book of the story of Rip Van Winkle, we see an unwitting Mr. Winkle happily heading away from the comforts of hearth and home, commuting towards an inconceivable future.  The small dog's and Mr. Winkle's pose is slightly reminiscent of The Fool card in the Tarot. The colors in Duffy's works are lyrically beautiful. I found it easy to lose myself in its beauty. It should be noted here that the computer version is nothing like the original vibrant Prismacolor pencil renditions. The poignancy of what is about to happen in the subject's life accentuated, and a reminder to the viewer that the same, or worse, could happen on any given day, and that life should be savored.

To see more of Duffy's work, go here, but please keep in mind that it is by far, best seen in person.

Jake Cline is an Ohio transplant who arrived here six years ago. His art explores the dark side of Truth, and how some of life's hard Truth brings its own humor and beauty. There's an ink painting of a rabbit frozen as if in a flight response, but it's been attacked, its belly section gutted, with drops of blood on it, and it is beautiful in its own way, and dripping with mortality, one of life's inevitable Truths.

Attention: This show ends on Sept 4th two days from the time this is being written. A Life in Progress: A portfolio of Works By J.R. Duffy with Jake Cline: The Truth can be seen at  Studio 620, 620 First Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Thursday-Saturday, noon to 4 PM.