A Harvest of Art Openings

Turning of the Season

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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. . .

Art Center Sarasota’s Juried Show: An Abstract View awards announcement

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.

Art Center Sarasota exhibition artists Irene Tete and Ry McCullough trading stories

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.

Native America: In Translation at USF’s Contemporary Art Museum

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.

Exhibition View of Native America: In Translation at CAM

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.

Attentive crowd for Curator Sarah Howard’s opening day tour of Native America: In Translation exhibition at CAM

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.

Installation view of Bruce Marsh – A Six Decade Survey at USF’s CoTA’s Wilson Gallery. This image shows the beginning years in an exhibition that was arranged chronologically.

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.

Elizabeth Indianos speaking on the process of painting the mural This Blessed Plot, This Earth during an artist talk with Curator Lynn Whitelaw at The Tarpon Springs Cultural Center

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.

Touchy/Feely exhibition at HCC

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.

Title wall of In Their Own Words, curated from HCC’s permanent collection on the third floor library gallery

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.

Detail view of HCC’s In Their own Words with Bessie is Cool by Ruby Williams in the foreground and (L-R on the back wall) – Study of the Last Tree No. 6 by Babs Reingold – So this was her kingdom: a octagonal house, a room full of books, and a bear by Tracy Midulla – Yellow Stone by Kirk Ke Wang

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

Title wall for The Weight of Paper, works by women artists from the Polk Museum of Art’s collection. On left is Paradiso I by Florence Putterman – on right is La Infanta Teotihuacana by Lilian Garcia-Roig
Faith Ringgold’s The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, a nine color lithograph in The Weight of Paper exhibition at the Polk Museum of Art

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.”

View of Samuel Bak’s exhibition Remembering Vilna at the Polk Museum of Art

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.

View of Carlos Bunga’s installation at the Sarasota Art Museum

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.

Curator/artist talk between Rangsook Yoon and Carlos Bunga at the Sarasota Art Museum

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.”

Title wall for Storm Stories at Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers

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.

Installation view of DEVO at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery on the campus of Florida Southwestern State College in Fort Myers

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.

Performance by Lonnie Hollie at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, Fort Myers

A more miles up the coast is the Dunedin Fine Art Center. On September 15, they opened Insights and Follies, metaphorical dream-like storytelling paintings by Nancee Clark. . .

Curator/artist talk during opening reception at Dunedin Fine Art Center in a gallery of paintings by Nancee Clark

Kowtow Mountain by Amy Santoferraro with shelves of curios either found or made in ceramic, a room of curious sculptures and objects. . .

View of Amy Santoferraro’s installation at DFAC

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.”

Installation view of At Home With City of Ghosts curated by Nathan Beard at DFAC

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.

Installation view of Through Her Eyes: Women Photographers in Tampa Bay at University of Tampa’s Ferman Center for the Arts
Most of the artists from Through Her Eyes: Women Photographers in Tampa Bay at UT’s Ferman Center for the Arts

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.

The Kress Building in Ybor, home of the Tempus Projects collective

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.

View of foot traffic for artists Kaylin Price and Erin Titus’s Look Who Decided To Stop By exhibition in DRIFT, an independent curators space on the second floor of the Kress Building in Ybor. The artist Erin Titus is the third set of feet from left – with flower dress greeting people coming in.

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.

The new Ybor City home of the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

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.

An interesting walk up the stairs to Tempus Projects on the second floor

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. . .

Curator Claire Whitner from the Worcester Art Museum speaking on the impressionist paintings on loan now in Tampa with Joanna Robotham, Curator at the Tampa Museum of Art in the exhibition Frontiers of Impressionism

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. . .

Opening scene at Bruce Marsh’s exhibition at USF’s CoTA’s Wilson Gallery

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