Project Description

May 27, 2021 | By Steven Kenny

Through August 22
Museum of Fine Arts
Details here

Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration is now open at St Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts. This show is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Whatever your taste in art, you will surely find something to like in this exhibition.

Skyway 20/21 Installation view

. . .
On view are works by Tampa Bay artists
Robert Aiosa, Dolores Coe, Keith Crowley, Becky Flanders, Dakota Gearhart, Bassmi Ibrahim, Morgan Janssen, Ezra Johnson, Karl Kelly, Savannah Magnolia, Jon Notwick, Lynne Railsback, Gabriel Ramos, Matthew Wicks and Janelle Young. These 15 artists manage to cover most of the stylistic bases.
. . .

Skyway 20/21 Installation view

. . .
The thread that connects all the work in one way or another is the natural environment surrounding us here in Southwest Florida. Let’s look at just a few.
. . .

Lynne Railsback – Tillandsia and Lichens

. . .
Lynne Railsback
’s approach to the theme is perhaps the most literal. Her watercolor portraits of native plant species are intimate and precise. Working from life without preliminary sketches, Railsback’s stated goal is to create renditions of her plant subjects as representationally accurate as possible. Albrecht Durer’s (1471-1528) nature studies come to mind.

One perhaps unintended outcome is that these hyper-realistic images also work well as delicate abstract compositions.
. . .

Ezra Johnson – Objects

. . .
Ezra Johnson
also works directly from still lifes arranged in the studio. However, his subject matter consists of trash collected from the Hillsborough River.

These small oil paintings remind one of Giorgio Morandi’s (1890-1964) tabletop arrangements of ceramic vessels; only this time we see plastic and Styrofoam containers decorated with familiar fast food logos. Johnson’s use of a bright, wide-spectrum palette applied with playful brushstrokes gives a celebratory air to these mass-produced, discarded objects.
. . .

Keith Crowley – Nocturne (Downy Hotel)

. . .
Another oil painter, Keith Crowley, takes a different approach by working directly from photographs. These blurry images remind one of architecture glimpsed at night from a moving vehicle – soon to be forgotten, but in this case, frozen in time.
. . .

Dolores Coe – Perimeter

. . .
Dolores Coe
visited an archery range filled with life-size plastic animal targets. Also working from her own photographs, she uses vivid color and animated brushstrokes to create visual environments that come to life and leap off the canvas.

 

Matthew Wicks – Sleeper

 

Three-dimensional work is also represented. I audibly giggled with surprised delight when seeing Matthew Wicks’ steel and webbing constructions reminiscent of cheap folding lawn furniture. These witty creations are wonderfully unpretentious and disarming yet fulfill all the requirements that make for engaging art. In keeping with their humble sources of inspiration, these pieces simply rest on the floor and lean against the wall.

I’ve left a lot out of noteworthy work. There’s also photography, ceramic and metal sculpture, video and embroidery. Congratulations to all the artists and MFA Curator of Contemporary Art Katherine Pill for a delightful exhibition.

. . .

Skyway 20/21 is spread over three other locations with works by a total of 49 artists and art collectives from Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Please visit the other venues of this collaborative exhibition at the Tampa Museum of Art (June 3-October 10), USF Contemporary Art Museum (June 14-September 1) and Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art (June 20-September 26).