Sebastian Coolidge’s “Place” at the COVE
Sebastian Coolidge‘s latest opus entreats visitors like a theme park attraction for the unconventionally inclined.
Creative Pinellas peeked in on the famed muralist/artist while installing “What Is This Place?” at the COVE, aka Creative Opportunities and Visual Entertainment.
COVE owner, frequent collaborator and friend Derek Donnelly helped install the colorful mixed-media installation, which Coolidge relocated from Orlando to the recently opened space at the Pinellas Arts Village in Pinellas Park.
Some of Coolidge’s signature motifs are instantly recognizable — comically elongated limbs, nods to the past, anthropomorphic creatures and a vivid, dream-like surreality.
From there, the installation takes us into Coolidge’s anxieties and imagination. There’s a wholesome princess/girl next door type pining at the window but no hero or prince charming; rather a big-headed idiot with diarrhea of the mouth (warning: expletives are detailed in 3-D dialogue bubbles). Between the two, macro and micro imagery converge, bringing you up close and taking you far away at the same time.
The installation also reflects the passage of time. You enter at daytime and leave at night; you fall into the looking glass and are spit out the Far Side.
Allusions aside, this brave new world is unlike anywhere you’ve visited. It has mischief and a little morality; goodness and a little grime. Its embellished worldview comes with acknowledgements of conventional thought and all that lies beneath and hovers above it.
“What Is This Place?” opened to the public last Saturday afternoon, and visitors have responded enthusiastically, posting numerous accolades to the event’s Facebook page. It’s a truly immersive exhibit, from its carpeted tongue to a cigarette-smoking globe to the stars on the ceiling.
See it at the COVE through June 24. Portions of the exhibit are for sale, including wooden panels and mobiles.
–Text by Julie Garisto; Photos by Daniel Veintimilla