Friday, November 30, 2012

Apophenia: Recent Works from Roger Chamieh @ Tempus

Roger Chamieh is a sculptor who teaches art at HCC Ybor. In Apophenia, he showed just four works at Tempus Projects Gallery. As we walked around the pieces, accompanied by Liz Williams, who is well-known for her silk paintings, Roger told us that the suite of works was about his trying to quit smoking. At first glance, that makes perfect sense with three of the pieces. One has lungs connected to a gas mask with a tiny video screen(s) with a little girls' image playing. Another has a huge conical form again connected to a gas mask, but the open end of the funnel is partially pinched shut. Last, a rubber-covered canvas in black is pinched by what looks like a large truck jack standing on end. The 4th piece has apparently little to do with smoking. It is a table with two legs missing, and at one end an organic-looking esophagus-like horn rises from it. Is this one about food addiction?  The artist, btw, doesn't appear to be suffering from that.

Roger Chamieh, "Broken"
On the right is a photo of "Broken". The open end of the 'horn' is around 6.5' high. There are sounds coming from it. Look closely and you will see a small metallic container at its base (lower left), from which emanated the modified sounds of heartbeats. The piece at one level speaks of instability, over-the-top gluttony/ingestion. to me it seemed as much about the culture and/or impending apocalypse/mortality as anything else.

Roger Chamieh, "Anoxia", side view.

When an artist says a work is about something, that may be partially true, but art routinely transcends the intent of its maker. If there is not a stranglehold on the design of the work, ideas find their way into it that the artist may not be aware of. Or, the artist has a plausible easy pat answer that leaves volumes unsaid yet available to the astute viewers.

These works seem go well beyond an individual's personal battle with addiction.

Roger Chamieh, "Anoxia" front view.

With "Anoxia", there is a large funnel, made in a similar manner to that used in many commercial sculptures, using Styrofoam and polyurethane to make an inexpensive, large and very durable form. The form goes from being large and open-ended into a small tube into a gas mask, a secondary atmosphere. Yes, the title and rest work with the smoking, and more. Note the large clamp at the mouth of the funnel, making the opening into a figure 8 form. Metaphorically, this is also about the collapse of potentials and possibilities into the self and/or the course of life among other things. The gas mask is something the wearer straps on of his own volition as well.

Roger Chamieh, "Turgor"

"Turgor" has to do with the normal resiliency of tissue due to interstitial pressure from blood or fluids. Here another clamp is involved, this one on the vertical axis. As people get older when their skin is pinched, due to low turgor, the pinched part takes a long time to recover.

Chamieh's sculptures openly carry an inherent narrative of the processes used to make them. They're extraordinary and provocative formally speaking, yet their content is given equal weight.

Roger Chamieh, "Daddy's Girl"
"Daddy's Girl" is composed of styrofoam, urethane-covered and ultimately chromed externalized lungs hooked up to a tube leading to a gas mask. In the mask, a small video screen shows a girl, one of the sculptor's daughters.
It seems a little sentimental on the surface, and a gut punch to our feelings of immortality. The theme of self-poisoned atmosphere, whether personal or global is something we are all familiar with.

This show is a testament to the idea that sometimes less can be much more. The works are mature, have an uncommon sober and dazzling humanistic intelligence.

Congratulations to Roger Chamieh, Tracy Midulla and her crew at Tempus for a particularly strong show.

Roger Chamieh

--- Luis

Thursday, November 29, 2012

John Brekke @ Duncan McClellan Glass

Duncan McClellan Glass, front entrance

Among John Brekke's [Link] many credits, once upon a time he was Duncan McClellan's teacher. Brekke describes himself as a "mark maker", regardless of the medium he is working with drawing, painting or glass. That concern for line expands into light, tone and texture and a signature that is evident through the work in the current show at Duncan McClellan Glass.

Work by John Brekke

 "Orange Birds", on left, was made via the Graal technique. This involves overlays of different colored glass, which is allowed to cool and is then cut or engraved to reveal color. Afterwards, more layers are applied. All of this layering and sometimes bubbles make for delicate-looking pieces that can be on the heavy side. The process can take many steps and dozens of hours to complete a single piece. This one has a graphic, dreamy, child-like quality about it.

Here is another Graal piece, titled "Elgin". Yellow-and-black hares run freely through what looks like a background of grass.

John Brekke, "Delta Tango"

The drawing shown on left is gouache, acrylic paint and ink on board. The complex symmetry and incredible attention to detail is hard to convey in a photograph and is (by far) best seen in person. Duncan told me some of these drawings took extraordinary amounts of time to complete. They are contemplatively hypnotic.

Works by John Brekke

Here are five smaller Graal pieces titled "Icons Large". On the top piece there is a bird, in the middle three, hares, and at the bottom, a fish.

Works by John Brekke

On the left is a sequential fish spread across several individual pieces.

Congratulations to John Brekke and Duncan McClellan Glass for a good show.

--- Luis

PS. I understand that on 2nd Saturday Dec. 8th., Mr. Brekke (and many other major glass artists) will be present at DMG. 

This Life of Pi Weekend, Nov. 30th - Dec 2nd

The Season is upon us, off and's some relief:

Work by BC Woo

BC Woo Memorial Gathering @ Seafood and Tap House - Friday, November 30th, 5-7 PM at 400 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg. Free admission.



Things are starting to get a little weird at the old fire station… 
Abnormality @ Fire Station Number 3 (FS#3) - No less than thirty artists will be shown at this art show/happening @ FS#3. One night only. Things organic, odd and the 20 Penny Circus to boot. Opens on Saturday, Dec 1st, 6-11 PM. Free admission. 2701 Fifth Ave. S. Saint Petersburg.



Wicked Winter Wonderland @ ARTpool - A Fashion party, with models on the runway, David Meek video and more. Admission: $20 at the door, $15 for students. Enjoy the cafe. 2030 Central Ave. Saint Pete. Opens Saturday, Dec 1, at 8 PM.



For the Love of Clay @ 620 - Several artists display juried clay works, including Christina and Don Williams, Wendy Durand, Rich Meredith, and Lyn Van Voorst.  Free admission. At Studio at 620, 620 1st ave. South, St Pete. 4-8 PM Saturday, Dec. 1st.



Soon: USF BFA Thesis Exhibition"Soon", BFA Thesis Exhibition @ USF. - Many media will be shown at The Vault, 655 N. Franklin St. Tampa, 6-9 PM. Opens Friday, Nov 30th, 6-9 PM. Free admission. Exhibiting artists: Meghan Bagnall, Jessica Brantley, Shannon Buchanan, James Clark, Caroline Collette, Kenneth Davis, Amanda Emmett, Michelle Fader, Jennifer Feldman, Justine Fox, Rebecca Fronsee, Lauren Hagley, Brittany Hance, Ryne Heslin, Rachel Johnson, Sam Newton, Rion Sabean, and Kaileen Schleith.


"It's Not What You Think @ Kahwa - Its Not What You Think, by Andrea Pawlisz Opening Saturday, 12.1.12, 7 to 9pm,
Show runs to 1.5.13
at Kahwa Cafe South, 204 2nd Avenue South, St Petersburg, FL


 Graphicstudio Museum Studies Show @ CAM -  Graphicstudio works on exhibit at the USF Contemporary Art Museum. Free admission. 4202 E. Fowler Ave. Nov 30th to Dec.7th. Parking is $5.


Love is Art: Geff Strik and Jeremy Brown @ 1000 Central - A duo show in a great space that does not show very often. Free admission. Free Beer and Wine. All at 1000 Central (the building is hard to see). Friday Nov 30th, 8 PM.


We have new artwork & jewelry arriving almost every day this time of year.  A new limited edition collection of Dr. Seuss art is now on display.  Not only does it make you smile, but it is a great investment. Also new jewelry and many utterly beautiful things that make for great gifts.

All at 2955 Central Ave.

Flowers for Woo

Tuesday I drove out to Central to talk with friends and leave a few things at Gallery Woo. Here are a few pictures...

                                           Flowers and love offerings by Gallery Woo.

Mural of Woo by Derek Donnelly

Artists did what artists do in commemorating Woo's life. They made art. This photo shows the mural in unfinished form. I understand it will be finished this Saturday. Look on the Saint Paint FB as to times.

Flowers for Woo against the outer wall of Gallery Woo.

--- Luis

Other recent posts about BC Woo:



The Artists and Writers Group 4th annual Christmas YART Sale

[From David Audet] 
The Artists and Writers Group 4th annual Christmas YART Sale
Saturday, December 8, 10am to 4pm. Open to public and friends.
Grownman Brand Studios, 6412 Central Avenue, Seminole Heights, Tampa 33604.
Art, Funky Junk, Curios, Oddities, Stuff...

Street Art: Laura Spencer's Owl Mural

This legal one is in Kenwood, on a backyard gate facing an alley. Laura Spencer is a an illustrator and one of St. Pete's best artists. Two owl faces on a metal gate...

All work by Laura Spencer

Contact Laura here [Link]

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seen: Paint Yer Knickers Off @ Queens Head [NSFW]

[Warning: Not Safe For Work]

Queens Head Gastro Pub [Link] in conjunction with artist Joanna Ledingham threw a body-and-car painting party titled Paint Yer Knickers Off featuring body-painting on Nov. 17th. Ledingham, Tawney and Sarah Turner painted models with various motifs, including a Union Jack. The painting prep was done at a bar next door where people also paint their own pictures, then moved into the side courtyard of Queens Head to continue the painting. At least two models were "canvases". They walked around with brushes and paint for patrons to paint. There was also a large blank space for QH customers to paint.

Outside, in the parking lot, a yellow Toyota Matrix was painted by Christian Thomas, renowned St. Pete muralist and painter. In the photo at left, Christian (on the left) and his father Clint Thomas, of OGO studio prep the car for painting by covering the windshield to protect it from overspray.

Models awaiting further painting in the courtyard. Note the English and Irish motifs.

On left, patrons painting one of two "Blank Canvases".

 On the right, models being painted by artists.

 Make-up...all for art, fun and fund-raising for ASAP, the Aids Service Association of Pinellas [Link].

Artist and gallerist Jennifer Kosharek painting a blank canvas model out in the parking lot, next to the car being painted. On the right, a second painting, this time of the ubiquitous Gretchen, on the model's shoulder.

Christian Thomas engaged in a performance by live-painting the Toyota using spray cans.

There were performances onstage...

Work by Christian Thomas.

Congratulations to all the artists, models and Queens Head for a wonderful evening.

Black Circle Show @ Dysfunctional Grace

Dysfunctional Grace has been stepping up its game in the past few months. Their current Black Hole show extends this run with a show of art on vinyl records.

Work by Jenipher Chandley

This post-apocalyptic nude in her gas mask, flaming red hair and immolation-colored background is by Jenipher Chandley.

A noir portrait of Neil Young titled "Don't let it bring you down" painted by Derek Donnelly of Saint Paint who uses the round format expertly.

Is Jennifer Kosharek Gretchen's getting her groove back here? Doubtful. Surrounded by blue clouds, waves on one of which her head is cradled and ships rocking on others, a short rainbow, a crying bird, The Crumbcakes upside down in what appears to be a coracle, Gretchen with a heart on her temple looks on, well-rouged and sphinx-y.

Upside down crosses and a skull  made of shards from a broken record give "Fuckin' Metal", by Rob Sexton/Planet Retro a shrill tone.

Congratulations to Dysfunctional Grace for an interesting show.

--- Luis

Last Show at Gallery Woo

I was there too early. Woo was on his way, but I missed him. Here are a few photographs of BC Woo's Last Show...

Gallery view

Work by BC Woo
BC Woo, "Hogfish"
Viewers enjoying Woo's work

This was the last show at Gallery Woo. The gallery is now empty and closed. For the post on Woo's passing, see here [Link].

--- Luis