Review | RoundSquare
Curator Katherine Gibson eliminated person after person on her computer screen as she sifted through the works of 25 artists until she was left with the remaining four whose work spoke to each other in a language she could feel – carving out, from a block of conversation clutter, the final four.
The exhibition RoundSquare runs through April 22nd at Florida CraftArt on the corner of 5th street and Central Avenue downtown.
The largest piece in the show is Bahamian artist Kendra Frorup’s absurdist installation of a laughing baby and a merry-go-round like something an industrial worker would use. Grab the lever while pushing the red button on the lever and walk around the circle, pushing the baby head atop the tower to make her giggle and laugh.
“This is her 4-year-old daughter – she did a cast of her head,” Gibson said. “Kendra casts a lot of things – chickens and coconuts and things from the Bahamas. So, she did this of her daughter. She has a recording of her daughter laughing. My 3-year-old niece came to the opening, she was so upset, she thought a baby was trapped inside.”
Then we have a found-object collection from Tampa painter Edgar Sanchez Cumbas.
“Edgar just finished his MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design,” Gibson said. “This doesn’t represent this work as a whole. I feel a little bad about that, he’s a really fine painter.”
Peppering the room is older sculptures of metaphor and paradox by Charlie Parkhill, who brings a light and dark sense of play with his conceptual sculptures, particularly Honeymoon, a chair made of two chair backs facing each other and a seat that slips down through a side opening like a trap door.
“Or an ejection seat,” Gibson joked, not wanting to pin her own meaning to the piece. “Get me out of here!”
A Miami-based minimalist graphic designer working with raw materials, Babetter Herschberger takes cardboard and re-appropriates it into formal elements. Babette’s pieces started as 2-inch scrap art projects and today have grown toward 6 foot sculptures with wood, cardboard, plastics, paper. Sometimes she paints the work after it’s assembled, or cleans it, or further distresses it, depending on the state of the materials when she finds them.
Katherine’s favorite part is physically putting the show together before the opening.
“These kinds of installations take several days and to me that’s the most fun of it all, having a deadline and having to figure out this puzzle,” Gibson said. “It’s a constantly evolving challenge, especially when you have a following for these artists.”
If the shapes in the room are talking to each other, I imagine it’s to share histories of rupture and renewal – an appreciation for the life raw material while also enhancing it in some way.