Saturday, June 30, 2012

Street Art: Short-lived Scrawls

These appeared not far from Art Taco HQ, and disappeared in 36 hrs. On a main thoroughfare and quite visible. Immature works they may be, but with hearts in the right place. On the left, an hommage a' BASK with a twist. Note the capitalized words. The number above is a state or city number or the structure.

An admonition to the Hyde Park/Bayshore Beautiful population.

Red and blue on a white background.

More wall poetry.

Young Love.

A silly deity with a large purple heart, dancing on a wall behind a hedge on Howard Ave. Tampa.

--- Luis

Gallery: Kim Hendrix Clothing Design Open Showroom

Kim Hendrix renews, recycles, reuses clothing. There seems to be a bit of Wabi-Sabi [Link] philosophy in her work, which she says, like all of us, is imperfect and unique, i.e., human. This was a 4ArtX event [Link]. The focus was on fashion photography, with most pros and many aspiring fashion photographers in the area present, along with fashion-forward people.

Here's a selection of images from the evening...

People gathered in the showroom, greeting & getting to know each other conversing on the sofas by the window.

 Kim (on the left) and fashion photographer Gina Marie opened. Kim educated prospective photographers as to what it takes to interact with her and her fashions in a mutually beneficial way.

Photographers discussed technique as models got ready... and waited...

After the talks, we walked down Central Ave. to a bar about four blocks away and waited for the rest of the party to arrive. Then we took the elevator to the top floor, where there's a bar and a huge open space with lots of windows, a magnificent views of downtown St. Pete and great light.

City view.

B.Mello & model.

B. Mello & model

Congratulations to Kim Hendrix, all the models and photographers for an evening of beautiful people, images and clothes.

--- Luis

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This Magic Mike Weekend, June 28th - July 1st.

Saori @ Sake Bomb - Saori, who works in several media and has collaborated with others in some of the best installations in the area is having a one-woman show at the Sake Bomb Saturday, June 30th. 548 Central Ave. St. Pete. Free admission.

Pollyzoom @ Rob Davidson Fine Arts - Paula Allen, AKA Pollyzoom will be showing new work, along with Pllyzoom characters, performances, music, projection, and graffiti by Christian Thomas, who is also currently exhibited in the Morean Leave a Message Show. Robert Davidson Fine Arts, 1100 First Ave N. St Petersburg. Free admission.

Kate Cummins Installation @ 620 - Runs through 7/7/12. Free admission. 620 First Ave S. St Pete.

One Waterway, One Tampa Bay Closing Reception @ Ybor HCC - Scroll down a couple of posts for a review of this spirited Community Stepping Stones exhibit at HCC Ybor Campus. Thursday, June 28th (tonight!) from 5-8 PM. Palm Ave & 15th St. Ybor City. Free admission.

Judith Salmon @ Appleton Biennial - I received this from Judith...

I'm pleased to share that my installation "Palimpsets" was juried into the exhibition:
ART of Our Time II  at Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida.

The Appleton Biennial 2012: Florida Installation Art, will run from June 30- Aug 12.  Opening Reception is on Friday, June 29, 5pm -7pm.
I hope you may be able to join me for the reception and to experience the installation works of 12 artist.

Thanks for your interest and support. And please be safe during this epic season of wind & rain.

Best Regards

Harmony in Color @ Hoffman-Porges - Scott Spillman shows new work. Live entertainment, food and wine. Free admission. 1907 E. Seventh Avenue (La Setima!) starting at 6 PM, Friday, June 29th.

The Last Show @ Salt Creek -

Please come share and celebrate
as Salt Creek Artworks closes its doors forever.

This will be the last reception in Salt Creek Artworks' twenty-year history. It has been a remarkable journey.

Salt Creek Artworks

The reception will be Friday June 29th from 6pm to 9pm. The gallery will be open on Saturday and Sunday as well.

We also wish to honor SCA owners Pat Burgess and her father, Claude Azell Prince who had the vision and passion to offer work spaces for artist of all disciplines and allow them the flexibility to create and work in their own unique ways with minimum rules and maximum independence. Pat and Azell were great art community champions as well, lending Salt Creek Artworks' unique space to other organizations for events and causes.

 We are grateful and proud of what we have accomplished here, in this old building. So much beauty was created within these walls for so many years.

Please come enjoy Salt Creek Artworks one last time.

Thanks for your support; wherever we end up... we'll keep you posted.

Lance Rodgers.
Curator/Artist, Salt Creek Artworks
and all of the Salt Creek Artworks Artists 

Opening Reception:  
Friday, June 29th from 6 to 9 pm
Free admission

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Waterway One Tampa Bay: Community Stepping Stones @ HCC Ybor

Work by Dominic

Community Stepping Stones (CSS) is a non-profit funded by the Hillsborough County Arts Council and University of South Florida. Using art to heal and develop central Tampa youth, CSS works wonders. At the "One Waterway, One Tampa Bay" show at HCC Ybor gallery, I saw the evidence first-hand in the installation and the positive self-images and confident demeanor in the CSS students.

For this project, the students learned about the estuary ecosystems of the area. This is one of the core topics of Sigrid Tidmore, CSS's executive director and watercolor painter of waterside wildlife and its relationship to man. CSS students went on field trips to estuarine environments and gathered trash and plastic bottles others had discarded in these areas, which are critical to the well-being of Tampa Bay, living nurseries where fish, crabs, shrimp and many more creatures can grow in relative safety before entering the bay waters.

The Bottles

 The viewer enters the HCC Ybor gallery in a very similar way. Instead of grasses, the vertical forms are over a thousand plastic bottles that  were recovered from the environment, cleaned, sterilized, and threaded with monofilament line and hung from the ceiling in long translucent columns.

Bottles with CSS Mural.

 The effect transcends the feeling of safety an estuarine resident might feel. The columns remind me of something Antoni Gaudi might have thought of. They rise like bubbles, or three-dimensional stained glass, a metaphor for the aspirations of CSS's students and staffers. I advise anyone visiting this exhibit to linger among the bottles and look around slowly, through them, too.

 [This is roughly the amount of bottles people throw away every second in the USA.]

Beyond them lies the 8x12 ft. er...mixed-media mural composed of colored objects also found in the Bay. It carries the title of the show on it, along with a porpoise and a manatee on either side of the lettering. A close-up look at this work reveals it to be a mosaic composed of found trash objects, painted, assembled and recontextualized into a mural that speaks to preservation through what was once pollution.

Congratulations to all the students and CSS staffers for an exhibit & project with real-world functional, personal significance and lyrical metaphorical aspects.

Tomorrow, Thursday, June 28th, is the closing reception for this show. Your last chance to see it. CSS Executive Director Sigrid Tidmore will speak. HCC Ybor Gallery, 2112 N. 15th St. Ybor City.

--- Luis

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Street Art: "Scrawls"

I ran into another writer (FB) on the arts at a cafe this last windy weekend. We spoke about graffiti among other things, and the show "Leave a Message" at the Morean Arts Center. He brought up what he referred to as the "scrawl" type of tag, how much he disliked it, and asked me what I thought. Tagging has to do with identity, turf, and the other aspects of graffiti I mentioned in this post [Link]. It is like a coal mine canary, in the sense that it speaks to a community about the status of its members. They have evolved since the 1970's, too.

Here's two...

On a fuse box somewhere...

In an inset metal door, layer upon layer of tags over time, like a movie filmed on one frame.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Clay Pride Show @ Craftsman House Gallery & Cafe

The yearly Clay Pride show at Craftsman House Gallery and Cafe is synchronized with the Gay Pride festivities in St. Petersburg. The work is described by Jeff Schorr as made by "artists that embraced the clay lifestyle". This is the fourth year for this popular show. Posey Bacopoulos, Robin Beckett, Glenda Jordan, Marge Margulies, Leil Patterson, and Stephanie Schorr are in the show.

On the left is a plate by Charlie Parker, who has been reviewed in these pages several times and recently opened a large pottery studio in the Warehouse Arts District. Charlie's plates are noted for their glazes.

These nestled bowls are by Marge Margulies. The undulating forms are reminiscent of water or concentric ripples in a pond after a stone is thrown in. The colors are subtle and interact beautifully.

Posey Bacopoulos works in terracotta with Majolica glazes that originated in the Middle East around the 9th century. It uses tin opacity for dense, reflective colors. Her designs an Iberian look to them.

Congratulations to all the artists and Craftman House Gallery and Cafe for hosting this show.

--- Luis

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Urge: Catching the Collector's Eye @ Duncan McClellan Glass

The "Urge" show at Duncan McClellan Glass is in parallel with the "Global and Local" Glass show at the MFA. There are at least four artists at DMG that are also in the Museum show. Duncan gave a talk at the MFA show that was illuminating as to the processes and thinking that are behind contemporary fine arts glass making.

Lisabeth Sterling, "And be Merry"

At the MFA and DMG, works by Lisabeth Sterling are on display. The artist's background was originally in drawing and painting on two-dimensional surfaces before turning to engraving transparent blown cameo vessels. Sixteen years later, the work is confident and mature. In these works there are multiple figures, each with its own individual expression, they interrelate, and together with a collective social expression. Change your point of view, and different faces assume prominence, and the potential narrative shifts. The cutaway vases simultaneously conceal, reveal and interact with their figurative content. In conversation, Duncan told me that Lisabeth inserts self-portraits into the work. Looking over several, I could see a face repeating in them, the artist's face.

L. Sterling, "The Virgin"
L. Sterling, "The Virgin"
"The Virgin" is another sandblasted and engraved glass cameo vessel by Ms. Sterling.The view on the left is a close-up through an opening in the vase. As with the work above, note how the transparency, opacity and reflectivity of the various surfaces play and draw contrasts that echo the groupings of heads inside. As with any three-dimensional artwork, I always walk 360 degrees around it and recommend you do the same. On the right is a view of the entire work.

Lisabeth Sterling, "Young Raisins"

For the past two years, the artist has been working with flashed glass wall pieces, whose properties resemble graphite on paper coupled with the translucence of glass. She started carving the steel that the glass was mounted on, then etching copper plates, from which some prints have been made. These have continuity with the 3-D works but are very different. The combination of metallic reflective sheen and the glow of the glass is powerfully seductive.

These pieces gift the viewer the equivalent of a half-remembered dream, partially recalled memory, or daydream fragment, like a loose piece of messenger RNA on which one's own personal narrative can be built.

G. Kuestner, "Lidded Vessel"
G. Kuestner, "Lidded Vessel"
Gabrielle Kuestner is internationally recognized for her glass carving. Her work radiates energy from the tensions between external textures and the translucence and refractive effects from within the glass. One of these lidded vessels is in the MFA show. These lidded vessels look like ritualistic objects, brimming with potential and able to keep their secrets secure until the right time, place and person. They have the tautness of a drum, in this case an instrument played by light and an observant, passionate eye.

Gabrielle Kuestner, "Mosaic Platter"
Ms. Kuestner also makes other forms. Here is a "Mosaic Platter", a cold-worked, fused-glass mosaic. Her technique and vision work to render an effect that is in quanta of color, space and light. One gets the feel that these articulated tiles represent an irreducible truth. Below right, I have included a close-up from the platter to illustrate this.

Gabrielle Kuestner, "Mosaic Platter", close-up.

Congratulations to all the artists in "Urge", to the DMG crew, and to Duncan for bringing first-rate glass works and artists to te area.

--- Luis

 Urge: Catching the Collector's Eye @ Duncan McClellan Glass - International glass artists works that attract collectors. DMG, 2342 Emerson Ave. St. Pete.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Dali Museum vs. St. Pete Grand Prix Fences & Walls.

The Tampa Bay Times carried a story today on its front page about the duration of the blockage of the Dali Museum and Mahaffey Theater for the St. Pete Grand Prix. The City is about to extend the contract with the Grand Prix until 2017. The Museum is effectively walled off for about a month. The article quotes 45 days. During tourist season, too. My favorite quote is from Council member Steve Kornell suggesting that the Dali pay for an extra shift of workers to speed up the removal of the barriers!

Why should they? The SPGP supposedly attracts 150,000 visitors to the city whose travel/hotel expenses puts a lot of extra money in some business owner's and City pockets as well. Why should those blocked have to take a loss, let alone pay for barrier removal while others are being enriched?

I'm sure an equitable solution can be found to compensate the Museum for revenues lost during the days the SPGP barriers block their doors.

To the Museum's Director, who commented that "This hasn't been talked about in the press of any public forums.", I would like to say: Where was your press release indicating your predicament? Why did it not go out to a list of media sources? Putting it on your FB page is not nearly enough.

Had I known about it sooner, this article would have appeared immediately.

--- Luis

Postcript: The City Council gave the SPGP a new contract through 2017 without regard for the fencing problems. 

This Seeking a Friend for The End of The World Weekend, June 22nd-24th

The Coloring Book Show @ Eve N Odd Gallery - Sixty four artists, one self-published, Kickstarter-funded book. Opening Party is Friday, June 22nd, from 5 - 7:30 PM. All at Even N Odd gallery, 645 Central, in the Crislip Arcade, St. Pete. Free. The book is $10.

A Gift From The River: Dominique Laubavie - The renowned sculptor has a show of a series of works made from scrap metal from the old Columbus Drive Bridge (which was recently rebuilt). All at Bleu Acier, Thursday, June 21, from 2PM - 6 PM. Also Saturday, June 23rd, 2-6 PM. At 109 W. Columbus Drive, Tampa. Free Admission.

Artist Appreciation Night: Artbook at the Museum of Fine Arts - Mingle with the artists on Artbook. "Groovy Music", a cash bar, art. What more is there? And the artists can say they showed at the MFA on their CVs. Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive, St. Pete. 5-8 PM Thursday, June 21st, Admission $5.

Summer Crafty Fest @ ARTpool - An "eclectica" market, with Polly Zoom's Puppet Performance Art for kids, and an art table for kids and adults. ARTpool Gallery, 2030 Central Ave. St Pete, 11 AM - 4 PM Saturday, June 23rd and Sunday, June 24th. Free.

Members Only @ Studio 620 - Members Only Art Show. Meet the artists, see the work, the usual. All at 620 First Ave S. St. Pete. Free. Opens Friday, June 22nd, 6-9 PM.

Spaces that sink: Peter Abrami @ The Porch Gallery - The Floridan landscape and the way man alters it. Porch Gallery, Opens Friday, June 22nd., 4-7 PM. 12908 N. 56th St. Tampa

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Art Basel (Basel) Dealers Pleasantly Surprised

The deck is listing on the European economy. People are stockpiling food and cash, begging for bailouts. You know the routine. Art dealers at Art Basel (@ Basel) which just closed, were worried for naught. Just as in the U.S., Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese markets, at the upper tiers of the art world, it's as if nothing has happened. No, it's much better than it was back in 2008. Why?

Because the 1%'ers that collect art at that level are not in the same economy (or planet!) as the common mortal. Their economy, unlike that of the other 99% is flowering, doing better than ever. The gap between them and the 10%'ers is rapidly widening. A lot of works that were being "kept in the family" by individuals are now being jettisoned, and museums are decommissioning others to raise funds. For those that are doing well, it's easy pickings, save for the inconvenience of having to compete with each other. But there's enough art and buyers to sustain over two-hundred major art fairs yearly.

This is nothing new. The same thing has happened before, just don't make the mistake of assuming this is going to be trickling down any time soon.

Burning on Central, Pt. II Leave a Message: Urban Art in Florida

Crochet Bomb by MAC entrance.
The Morean has stepepped up and seized the cultural moment with a daring exhibit that is long overdue in this area. Tes One, BASK, Akut, Center, Dolla, Allen Leper Hamilton, Joey Clay, Laura Spencer, Anna Paul, Stephen Palladino, Christian Thomas, Nonstop, Wes Roos, Jansen Smith, and Terribly Odd are being exhibited. The show was curated by Amanda Moore and Tes One.
   Some of the artists are, as the MAC describes them, "active", meaning they are currently doing graffiti. Others are in transition, between graffiti and conventionally-exhibited legal art, and a few have left the fat caps behind and moved on. Some are simply appropriating from graffiti.

Alan Leper Hampton & his work.

 In some cases the artists have taken the techniques of graffiti to fine art. Alan Leper Hampton used spray cans to do a large mural of a woman's face, about 3 m. tall. Alan has an MFA from USF and has exhibited in many venues nationally. His works simultaneously focuses on the importance and uselessness of art.

Laura Spencer, "Balshazzar's Feast"
painting of a biblical banquet interrupted by divine intervention
Rembrandt, "Balshazzar's Feast"
I would be very interested to see street art by Laura Spencer. This is her version of "Balshazzar's Feast", the title links it referentially to the original, which was painted by Rembrandt. In the Rembrandt, shown below left, the message on the wall was in Hebrew. In Spencer's, it's in English, and the message on the wall (sans mysterious hand) is "Praise the Lowbrow". It is also in a faux, unhinged, three-panel altarpiece format. In the story in the book of Daniel, King Balshazzar desecrates the Holy Vessels of the enslaved Israelites when the mysterious hand appears and leaves the prophecy on the wall spelling doom for the King. Laura has three golden triangles on the panel on the right, with a crow perched on the lowest one. There is a crumpled can, note or sketchbooks. In the panel on the left, there's more triangles, a pot pipe, ashtray and more. In the middle panel, a skull with a Chief's headdress, a bowl running over with fruit, an iPod, a watch and more. Is the writing (graffiti) on the wall aimed at fine art?

Bask, "BASK in Your Thought Crimes"

Ales Bask Hostomsky, an emigre from Czekoslovakia, literally made a name for himself with the ubiquitous "BASK in your thought crime" stickers, which can still be seen plastered on traffic light poles on Central Ave. He participated with Tess One on a mural at Zen Glass [Link], and is apparently still active with this large tag put up recently [Link]. Bask is a painter who works with salvaged materials, as we see here, and tension, both conceptual and formal. He adopts tropes and the signifiers of various techniques like a chameleon. The American flag is a new addition to the Thought Crimes series, as is the red, white and blue. The artist seems to be imparting a sense of legitimacy and an American tradition spin to graffiti in this work, which has more than a touch of recontextualized folk art to it.

Steven Palladino is well-known in the Bay Area. His distinct style, very similar to drawing with a paint brush, often using continuous lines is present in some of his works in this show. He does a lot of grim-faced, old, white guys in suits that remind me of stale power structures and media characters. Steven also blends styles from different times to great advantage. The old TV console in the lower left in the picture on left was showing a video of the artist at work, giving some idea of the dynamics of the process to viewers. There was a mixed-media sculptural piece by Palladino, a section of a refrigerator titled "Paint or Die (Who Needs Food?). This is an earnest hommage to the graffiti lifestyle, a conceptual piece with a lot of subtle touches in it. There are allusions to taggers, their sacrifices
and more. This is the kind of work that deserves extended attention and contemplative observation. At one time, it is a time capsule, sarcophagus and monument to graffiti and the artists who risk arrest, fines and jail/prison time for their art.

On the left is a close-up of the interior of the fridge, perhaps the upper 1/4th freezer section.

Christian Thomas's "Gnarlyfe", in part, stems directly from an existing mural recently completed. That's the part on the left half. It is photographically collaged with bits from a mural behind a house (if memory serves), with a hole left by a .357 bullet (the whiteish part along the top edge). There's a lot about materialism in this work. A red-headed nude holds onto a blue diamond, a face makes a gagging gesture behind it. A stack of flesh-colored money peels, with pot leaves behind it.

Anna Paul is a student at Ringling who openly admits to never having done graffiti. This has not stopped her from being inspired by and adopting the formal elements of writing into her abstract work.

"Watercolors", by Tes One was the centerpiece of the show. A woman's face emerges out of a pixilated, color-tiled section in the lower right of the painting. There are sub-pixels in white, and blown-up microcircuitry around the face.

 Graffiti has been around a long time. It may have been the first art form. Probably every major metropolitan area in the USA has shown graffiti artists and/or actual graffiti year ago. Congratulations to all the artists and to the Morean Arts Center for making the leap. Thank you.

We've been waiting for you.

--- Luis

 Leave a Message: Urban Art in Florida @ The Morean Arts Center -  Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave. Free Admission.