Always Creating

Exhibitions in the Middle of Bustling Ybor City

Through July 11
Kress Contemporary, Ybor City
Details here

Of the many happenings in Ybor City’s Kress Contemporary – the galleries, the Fringe Theatre, the microcinema, the unique yarn shop, the artist studios – two recent exhibitions are gems.

Installation view (L to R) Trinity Oribio’s Like Gold Visits The Thieved Till – Susan Peloubet’s Being One and Teardrops – Erin Titus’ Beni and With a Twinkle in His Eye – Shilpa Saxena’s Drift of Wishes

The first is Younger Than The Sun, a group show curated by Tracy Midulla at Tempus Projects with artists Jenny Carey, Krista Clark, Georgia Hourdas, Nneka Jones, Roxanne Jackson, Christine McCarty, Laura Meckling, Brittany Metz, Carola Miles, Lauren Moradi, Trinity Oribio, Susan Peloubet, Shilpa Saxena, Kelly Sturhahn and Erin Titus.

Occupying two of Tempus Projects’s galleries, artists in Younger Than The Sun are individualistic, employing diverse media and materials, no obvious connecting relations or themes – maybe their own uniqueness is the commonality.

Krista Clark’s Woman Holding a Balance

Starting in the smaller of the two galleries, Krista Clark’s Woman Holding a Balance (same title as Vermeer) is a U-shape concrete slab edged by a thin wooden band hanging off-kilter from bungee cords. What is it?

Installation view with Brittany Metz’s Swell video on facing wall – Laura Meckling’s Corporeal Consciousness Canon (He/She/They/We) on right wall – Roxanne Jackson’s Early Woman on pedestal in foreground

This weight hangs opposite Brittany Metz’s video, Swell, of a person in billowy fabric superimposed over ocean waves rolling in from a distant horizon.

In between sits Roxanne Jackson’s terracotta Early Woman, a wrinkly mermaid/caterpillar-like being that may have evolved out of those ocean waves eons ago. Maybe there is a water theme of womanhood in between gravity and weightlessness through time.

Laura Meckling’s Corporeal Consciousness Canon (He/She/They/We)

On the wall adjacent to Clark is a series of six oil pastel and pencil drawings, geometric mandala-like, from Laura Meckling titled Corporeal Consciousness Canon (He/She/They/We) reflecting hints of Hilma af Klint’s mystic body of works.

Christine McCarty’s Hot Throw, and Floaters

Facing those are Christine McCarty’s Hot Throw and Floaters, a diptych of objects drawn in pen collaged onto an ink washed background, almost like sifting compositions found on pages of Dover Books publications of royalty-free images and motifs. . . and Georgia Hourdas’s oil paintings – Spiral Out [Dirt], Cherries Royale and Little Specter. Three paintings I would want to invite for a glass of wine and conversation.

Georgia Hourdas’ Spiral Out [Dirt]
Georgia Hourdas’ Cherries Royale, and Little Specter

Running through these works and including pieces in Tempus’ second gallery – particularly Carola Miles’s Radiant Bodies drawings – is not so much a theme, but a noticeable thread of finesse, meticulousness, precise execution, the craft in the art of making art.

This invites intent looking, is an entry point – even if one does not know about the art or the artist who made it.

Carola Miles, Radiant Bodies

Besides Miles’s impeccable graphite drawings, there’re fabric works, photography, another of Jackson’s mermaid-like beings, and more paintings in this larger gallery with windows letting in natural light.

Erin Titus’ Beni and With a Twinkle in His Eye

Two tightly-cropped narrative mysteries are Erin Titus’s oil on panel works – Beni and With a Twinkle in His Eye. Next to these intimate detailed paintings is Shilpa Saxena’s Turner-esque oil on canvas – Drift of Wishes with wide sky and impressionistic brush strokes.

Installation view (L to R) Erin Titus’ Beni and With a Twinkle in His Eye – Shilpa Saxena’s Drift of Wishes – Lauren Moradi’s tongue-tied/tone deaf, you don’t even value good luck, found poem 2 / solitaire

Jenny Carey and Trinity Oribio’s photographic works, contrast in scale, imagery and presentation. Cary’s two images – Embodied and Hanging By A Thread – from the natural world and becoming abstract reflections, are beautifully matted and framed.

Exhibition title wall with Jenny Carey’s Embodied on left and Hanging By a Thread on right

Like Gold Visits The Thieved Till, Oribio’s two large-scale garden images dance – one unfurling down the wall, leading to the other laying visually perpendicular to it on the floor. It was amazing that during the well-attended opening no one stepped on it  or spilled any wine staining it.

Trinity Oribio’s Like Gold Visits The Thieved Till

It is intriguing, engaging the floor, where looking down becomes an aerial view of a scene that was shot from ground level.

And then there’re fiber/fabric works by Susan Peloubet, Kelly Sturhahn and Lauren Moradi.

Moradi is more a mixed media installation, though the label identifies three separate pieces – tongue-tied/tone deaf, you don’t even value good luck and found poem 2 / solitaire.

Installation view (L to R) Susan Peloubet’s Teardrops – Erin Titus’ Beni and With a Twinkle in His Eye – Shilpa Saxena’s Drift of Wishes – Lauren Moradi’s tongue-tied/tone deaf, you don’t even value good luck, found poem 2 / solitaire – Roxanne Jackson’s Heartbreaker on pedestal in the foreground

The three make a cascading composition on the wall, a visual poem reaching into a past. An old phone with long curly-q cord to a handset that may or may not work in today’s technology, and creased embroidered handkerchiefs from some attic chest. They’re even in the colors of those vintage pink and green bathroom tiles that trend in and out of fashion.

Kelly Sturhahn’s Leaning Stripes (Diffusion), and Leaning Stripes (Refraction)

Sturhahn’s Leaning Stripes (Diffusion) and Leaning Stripes (Refraction), both acrylic weaved into fabric, are optical illusions. My sight went wonky looking at them too long.

Susan Peloubet’s Being One and Teardrops

And Peloubet’s Being One and Teardrops are patterns stitched with threads that upon close inspection are complex needle works that bring to mind mid-century aesthetics with their equally fine craftsmanship.

The second exhibition, Receptacle in the Drift Independent Curators Space, transformed into OXH Gallery and curated by Odeta Xheka, includes artists Adria Arch, Julie Gladstone, Madison Hendry, Caroline McAuliffe, Denise Treizman and Odeta Xheka.

This fiber-based show definitely has a theme – all the artists are also mothers. The intimate size of the gallery, the deep blue walls with tightly-packed works give the space a certain womb-like feel.

Installation view of Receptacle

Fiber here stretches the definition. Denise Treizman from Miami makes weavings from materials that normally are not materials of choice. Her tapestries incorporates jump ropes, duct tape, pool noodles, wires and Mardi Gras beads, to name a few of the oddities.

Installation view with Denise Treizman’s two Untitled (blah blah) on left – Madison Hendry’s three sets Gloves on right and her Front Yard in foreground

The raw materials she uses comes from the waste stream of contemporary society, which she collects and upcycles into these wall tapestries, which could also be considered sculptures – as the exhibition label describing her works said last year when she was selected into the Orlando Museum of Art’s Florida Prize in Contemporary Art show.

Denise Treizman’s Untitled (Balloon Weaving)

For this Receptacle show, Treizman has three small weavings – two are Untitled (blah blah), and the third Untitled (Balloon Weaving Series) which is a crosshatch of long skinny balloons looking like the inside of an Easter basket.

Installation view with Caroline McAuliffe’s two framed images – Iðunn’s Völva, and For Marat on left – Julie Gladstone’s Invisibility Cloak on right – and Adria Arch’s Lilac Spin foreground center.

From Canada, Julie Gladstone’s Invisibility Cloak – vibrant colors of textured knitting and stitching in this magical composition. A quote from her Masters thesis. . . “Using textiles, embroidery patterns and knitting as text, these pieces tell stories about birth, death, exile, diaspora, motherhood and the creation of personal rituals to recover from ancestral trauma, colonial violence, patriarchal narratives and disembodiment.”

Two additional photos show Gladstone with her child wrapped in this Invisibility Cloak.

Installation view (L to R) Caroline McAuliffe’s Iðunn’s Völva, and For Marat – Julie Gladstone’s Lullaby in the Sumach, Invisibility Cloak with Sumach and Goldenrod, Invisibility Cloak – Adria Arch’s Lilac Spin

Caroline McAuliffe, founding member of Mother Creatrix Collective, a group of mother artists in New York who support each other’s artistic practices, has two framed photos of performances where she’s wearing her knit creations, in particular her knit masks. In one is a dramatic re-creation of Jacques-Louis David’s 1793 painting – The Death of Marat.

I first encountered Madison Hendry (aka Mama Bird)’s work at the Museum of Motherhood in The Factory art space in St. Petersburg. It was a photo series documenting Hendry crocheting with pink yarn for the duration of her pregnancy. A living sculpture titled “womb project”, the piece grew to envelope her as her child developed inside her.

She brings her ongoing crochet project to Receptacle. Hendry was sitting there during the opening reception (under three sets of hands in medical gloves she made that are in positions of receiving the baby at childbirth) crocheting this eternal blanket titled Front Yard – which by now, at 60×20 feet, can wrap around the OXH Gallery.

Exhibition title wall with Xheka’s video Skin on Skin, center, flanked by Poetics of the Body – Hendry’s Front Yard in the foreground, and Gloves on far left

Hanging in the center is the sculpture Lilac Spin from Boston’s Adria Arch with intersecting, interconnecting biomorphic shapes in burnt umber and hues of blues and long dangling strips undulating, animating the middle of the room as well as casting shadows reaching out to the other works.

And Xheka, both curator and artist with a 17-second loop video Skin on Skin and two mixed media collages, both bearing the same title Poetics of the Body. They are complex layered patterns and shapes – human shapes walking into a forest of other shapes, or maybe emerging out of them.

Opening reception night, sitting L to R – participating artists Julie Gladstone, Madison Hendry, Odeta Xheka (also the curator) – and art supporter, Karisya “Isa” Moran

In “Art Made in Kitchens,” Episode 22 of the podcast Pep Talks for Artists, host Amy Talluto speaks on “the working kitchens of artists throughout history – and see what they got up to in there. We see the messiness that is art and life all mixed up in the kitchen, and how this humblest of rooms smack dab in the middle of the chaos of the home can still be a studio, if you got the drive and wherewithal to bend it to your will.”

A few of the “kitchen artists” Talluto describes are Ida Appelbroog, Mimi Smith, Betye Saar, Joseph Cornell, Carrie Mae Weems, Ann Ryan and unexpectedly Robert Rauschenberg.

Whatever the circumstances, Talluto quotes Ida Appelbroog – “Anybody that creates, they gonna find a way to create, it does’t matter how.”

Artists in Receptacle, and those in Younger Than the Sun to some degree have that feeling for me. They are people who create, however they do it.


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