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As the planet goes spiraling round and round, we watch from our humble ground this cyclic life in the linearity of time – the end of summer, another school year commencing, football season. . . and new exhibition openings in museums and galleries here, and across the art world everywhere.
Omniscient and omnipresent abilities are needed to be able to know about and attend all the ongoing cultural events on the calendar – and like a bee gathering nectar from flower to flower, I buzzed around. Here’re few of the many openings this past month or so. . .
On August 24, Art Center Sarasota opened with four exhibitions to an overflowing crowd. In the front left gallery is Clearwater-based artist Lauren Mann with The Ephemerality of Being, a series of compelling color pencil drawings of figures in familiar everyday life, each in their thoughts and moment of existence.
Originally from Bulgaria, now associate professor at San Diego State University, Iren Tete’s systems of (entanglement) is a group of intriguing ceramic sculptures putting form to concepts of varies systems – of (entanglement), of (emotions), of (architecture)…
Assistant Professor of Art and Design at University of Tampa, Ry McCullough’s SUPERPOSITIONS comprises sculptures and “framed” works, or what he terms wall-bound hybrids that examine the tension between these dimensional and flat spaces, putting together shapes and colors that otherwise might never meet.
And in the Center’s largest gallery is a very full Juried Exhibition – An Abstract View, juried by Tre Michel, co-owner of State of the Arts Gallery in Sarasota encompassing all forms of abstract and non-representational art. Like walking into a field of wildflowers.
The very next day, the USF Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa celebrated with an opening reception Native America: In Translation. Curated by the Apsáalooke artist Wendy Red Star, this photo-based show brings to current times the layered and evolving identities of the first peoples to this land.
Sarah Howard, CAM’s Curator of Public Art and Social Practices gave an in-depth tour of the art and artists involved, the untold stories being heard.
At the same time next door was Bruce Marsh, A Six Decade Survey, curated by Mark Ormond in the USF College of the Arts Wilson Gallery. The retired faculty’s installation is a sampling of his 60 years of output. A massive accomplishment detailing his methods, composition and color explorations.
Another retrospective, or rather, Introspective – Public/Private by Elizabeth Indianos, Tarpon Springs’s queen artist in residence’s exhibition curated by Lynn Whitelaw, takes an expansive look at the internal process and range of progress an artist moves through.
The exhibition installed on two floors of the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center features the mural This Blessed Plot, This Earth, realized during the pandemic.
One common refrain from security staff at museums is Please Do Not Touch. As humans existing, we do a lot of that, appropriately or not.
Well, welcome to Touchy/Feely – Form, Function & Contemporary Fiber, with artists Jessica Caldas, Saumitra Chandratreya and Emiliano Settecasi, a hands-on experience at Gallery221 on HCC’s Dale Mabry campus where visitors are invited to touch.
Just watch your fingers on Settecasi’s spinning fans, or get them inky doing some block printing on a large fabric Chandratreya laid out for visitors to experiment with.
The curator, Alyssa Miller also selected from HCC’s permanent collection – in an exhibition titled In Their Own Words, in the gallery the next floor up. A really nice surprise.
Another institution showing off some of their collections, the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland just opened The Weight of Paper, works by women artists in their permanent collection, with some familiar names like Barbara Adrian, Judy Chicago, Hung Liu, Florence Putterman, Faith Ringgold, Pat Steir…
In the main gallery at Polk is Remembering Vilna, paintings by Samuel Bak. Bak was born in 1933 in Vilna, Poland, and survived as a child of the Holocaust. His paintings draw on these memories as he becomes a visual storyteller, “… using his paintings to examines the Jewish experience of the Holocaust specifically – and the terrors humans can inflict on each other universally.”
Much earlier, in the heat of summer, Sarasota Art Museum opened with an artist/curator discussion – Reassembling Spilt Light: An Immersive Installation by Carlos Bunga.
Curator Rangsook Yoon’s presentation with artist Carlos Bunga, who seeks to define ‘home’ in his nomadic life, overlaying that as an immigrant navigating the many temporal and often hostile places. Towering pillars, this show finishes at the end of October.
On September 1, Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers opened with Storm Stories: A Juried Exhibition to commemorate the massive trail of destruction Hurricane Ian left one year prior.
This is an oral history project coupled with the visual language by people who lived through last year’s submersion. Leoma Lovegrove describes it – “The force of the wave turned my little home into a Maytag washing machine.”
A couple of miles away the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, in the path of Ian, had closed for many months due to hurricane damage – and had a soft opening with all things DEVO. If you lived through the platform shoes of the ’70s, then come listen to the soundtrack and celebrate this 50th birthday of DEVO whipping it up with their satirical lyrics.
Gallery Director Jade Dillinger organized a slate of events starting with a performance on September 6 by visual artist and musician Lonnie Holley. After this, Holley toured Australia.
Kowtow Mountain by Amy Santoferraro with shelves of curios either found or made in ceramic, a room of curious sculptures and objects. . .
At Home With City of Ghosts, a group exhibition grown out of time spent with family during the Covid era, curated by Nathan Beard, with each artist “. . . telling their stories and exploring the human condition through humor, history, activities, music, anthropology, play – ART.”
On September 29 the University of Tampa’s Ferman Center for the Arts, completed during the pandemic, opened Through Her Eyes: Women Photographers in Tampa Bay in the Saunders Foundation Art Gallery, a range of narratives and layered aesthetics close to home.
The night before, at the exciting art collective space that is the Kress Building in the heart of Ybor saw a number of opening events.
This three-story legacy building anchored by Tempus Projects with its innovative founder and director Tracy Midulla (who also has her works in the HCC permanent collection exhibition mentioned earlier), also houses Screen Door Microcinema, Quaid Gallery, The Fringe Theatre, Tampa City Ballet, Parachute Gallery, DRIFT – plus a number of other galleries, artist studios and creative endeavors.
And on the first floor of the Kress collective is the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts which opened with Icons of Black & White, featuring over 60 works from FMoPA’s collection as well as loans from private collectors.
This process of image making with film cameras and darkrooms contrasts sharply with the color-filled images in the adjacent gallery featuring pictures captured digitally by seniors in Creative Aging Through Photography, works made during classes provided by FMoPA’s outreach program.
So this summary is a thin slice of the whole picture.
Not forgotten are St. Petersburg’s Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of American Arts and Crafts Movement, The Dalí Museum, The James Museum, Tarpon Springs’s Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art and a number of other institutions. . .
Like Tampa Museum of Art – which just opened an exhibition of impressionist paintings from the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, which began collecting these works at the time they were being made.
More details on these pictures from a turning point in art history in an upcoming article. . .