Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hot Art. Cool Crowd @ Mc Donald Training Center (MTC).

Main room, MTC Gallery
The Mc Donald Training Center is an organization founded in 1953 in the service of people with developmental disabilities whose primary goal is to enable them to lead the lives they choose. Part of this involves art. Recently MTC held their Hot Art. Cool Crowd. art show at their Fine Arts Gallery, located at 5420 Cypress Ave. in Tampa.

The gallery consists of an anteroom, one main, large longitudinal room, a hallway, and three smaller rooms.The work is largely Outsider art, with some exceptions. Some of the artists are in galleries outside MTC, and a few have done illustrations for publications.

Edwin Ramos, "The Ranch"

"The Ranch", by Edwin Ramos is a classic-looking landscape in the Impressionist style. The artist's bold strokes and colors are confident. The composition weighs the form of the tower on the left and its verticality with the flaxen golds of the fields and the figure in the lower center.

There are several portraits in a graphic style in this show. On the left is Omoro Rall's "Modigliani Lady". The reference to Modigliani is visual. The palette, expression and elongation of the face show a familiarity with his work.

Betty Young, "Trees"

Betty Young painted this in tempera, a medium that allows for great subtlety of color and it put to good use here. It is a forest view, with the trunks of the foreground trees forming secondary frames as well as graphic, colorful forms. The bent to the viewer's right of two of the trunks is intriguing, adding a formal tension to the composition.

There are several cats represented in the paintings in the show. This one, titled "My Cat", by Aaron Black, is a near-abstraction, composed of geometric planes and fields, yet clearly a cat, and a dapper one at that, complete with red bowtie and a knowing, self-assured smile. Note how he is ruled by the moon, seen at the 12 o'clock position, and the sun lies at the 4 o'clock, to the lower right of the cat.

"Strolling Down Memory Lane", by Lora Duguay, is a realistic, small oil painting of a figure walking on a trail through a forest. Note how the branches of the trees on the left seem to lovingly protect the figure, which in some ways looks young, yet needs a cane and whose curved back suggests a limp.

This "Audrey Hepburn", by Glen Nash is very different from the the famous photograph. The artist has chosen to show us an openly insecure and inquiring, perhaps older version. The fluency in body language is impressive here.

There are many other wonderful works in this show. I want to congratulate all the artists and the Mc Donald Training Center for a memorable show.

--- Luis

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