Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Between Earth & Sky: Tampa Photographers' Collective Debut Show @ Tempus

The Tampa Photographers' Collective is a group of artists, some of whom work in other media, that get together once a month at Tempus Projects Gallery to discuss the work of its members. Comprised of Adam Ekberg, Becky Flanders, Chris Otten, Forrest MacDonald, James Reiman, Jeremy Chandler, Kym O'Donnel, Noelle Mason and Wendy Babcox.The group is eclectic, has no overriding style or manifesto. Between Earth and Sky is their first show.

Becky Flanders, "Obverse and reverse"  
Becky Flanders has recently been working with things like the Presidential Seal and currency. What symbols a culture puts on its means of exchange speaks volumes. In this show, Becky showed both sides of a US Penny. A Union Shield penny, but the artist has altered it in several ways. Via digital means she removed "In God we trust", "Liberty" and the date from the front view. From the rear, "United States of America", "Pluribus Unum" from the shield, and the thirteen vertical stripes along with the "one cent" designaiton. And she added a hole through the center of the coin as well. By removing the letters and other signifiers while leaving lincoln and part of the Shield, this ubiquitous coin changes, becoming less of a specific coin and more of a type. The hole in the middle is reminiscent of Chinese coins (a string could be run through it). Coins from an empire. 

James Reiman, Princess Leia, AKA Ivy Kannaley
 Star Wars mythology and symbolism has been used by various artists in the area. There was a recent show at the BOX on 5th of Vince Kral's work, including his many installations related to Star Wars. James Reiman had two pictures involving models dressed in Star Wars characters in decontextualized settings that relate to their stories. There's Darth Vader in front of an older house (even he can't go home again), and as seen on the left, a Princess Leia on the rocks by the water holding a gun pointed at a dark plant with threatening-looking limbs. By throwing in the model's name the artist deconstructs the identity of the character.

Chris Otten, ""Teepee"

"Teepee", by Chris Otten, is a construction done in a natural setting and photographed. It has the minimal cues and form to stand on its own and suggest the skeletal form of an Indian dwelling. It suggests there isn't much left of the indigenous cultures.

The Tampa Photographer's Collective's first show was interesting in many ways. The diversity of the work, the academic aspects of it, and how most of the members are working on location. Congratulations to all the photographers and to Tracy Midulla Reller for a very good show.

--- Luis

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