November 7, 2019 | By Akiko Kotani
with Bernard Freydberg
130 Years and Counting
On view through December 5
HCC Gallery 221, Tampa
130 Years is an exhibition curated by R. Lynn Whitelaw of the work of Lynn Foskett, Leslie Neumann and Roberta Schofield.
‘130 Years’ describes the cumulative number of years these three women artists spent in their studios, to date.
At the artists’ reception, the three discussed many years of challenges and change as they navigated through their adventures and at the same time incorporated their personal lives into their art. The discussion was always lively, sometimes comic and at times painful. All three faced their troubles with grace and humor.
I asked Lynn Foskett why in one painting she had placed a chair roped onto her painting? She answered me during her talk. Chairs that hold the comfortable impressions of their sitters fascinate her. She pointed out that we all know of chairs in and about a home that hold the history of the one person that occupies it.
Stacked, part of the J. Michael & E. Ann Mayers collection, was executed in 2017. It is a collaged oil pastel on YUPO paper mounted on shaped foam core support. Pictured here, the chairs are piled one on another in a somewhat tenuous arrangement.
She states, “My work reflects a continuing curiosity in exploring the dichotomy between perception and reality, and the resulting ambiguities.”
Leslie Neumann had a vibrant career in New York City before transitioning to Florida in 1991. While her paintings used a traditional landscape point of view before moving to Florida, a change in viewpoint started to appear when she moved to Aripeka, a small coastal community along the Gulf of Mexico. Her equilibrium was altered.
As she slid along the marshes and wetlands in her kayak, this intimate view of the water, its fragrances and its natural color palette, this environment, bursts upon her encaustic employed works. For Fiery Marsh, 2017, she used her favored medium of encaustic. Accepting the volatility of this medium, she has used this in delightful experimentations.
As for Roberta Schofield, an accident radically changed the way she did her work. Meticulous in her paintings, she avoided brushstrokes and produced highly articulated super-real paintings that seem to transform into abstract forms as one starts to gaze at them.
With an accident that left her unable to flex her body as before, she saw this as a challenge. Instead of giving in to her new circumstance, she began to master the computer as a painting tool. This opened up a totally new adventure for her. In many ways it freed her of stubborn notions she held so dear in the past.
With On Edge, completed in 2018, she started to use the computer as a brush. It was not as highly articulated as in her paintings, but rather she employed it to soften the images she manipulated with the cursor.
A contradiction? Yes, but what a celebration to the endless creativity of an artist!
R. Lynn Whitelaw, retired founding Director & Curator of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, is the creator/curator of this exhibition. His contributions to the cultural life of our region cannot be overstated.
Of these artists, he observes: “I remain in awe of their modernity, their creative expression, their engagement through activism and/or social media and how much they respect and honor each other to provide support for the arts community in general. They truly are positive role models for younger artists.”
He informed us that this exhibition is his second manifestation of this concept. 130 Years: John Gurbacs/Tom Kettner/Steven Schatz was presented last year at the same site.
Having had a stint as Director of the HCC Dale Mabry Campus Gallery in Tampa, Lynn Whitelaw knows the gallery intimately and prepared these memorable and historically significant dual exhibitions showcasing our seasoned artists in our Tampa Bay Area.