Much About Ourselves."
Through October 21
Florida CraftArt, St Pete
Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? And right before Halloween, Florida CraftArt in downtown St. Pete brings the spooky stories and terrors of 38 visual artists to light.
The seasonal celebration of spooky stuff gets its start back with the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain, marking the end of the summer and harvest season and the beginning of winter. Often associated with death, it was believed that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead become blurred on that night.
The Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating, candy, decorations and costumes and watching horror/slasher movies is popular with more than 70 percent of Americans who are expected to spend $12 billion this year, according to Statista, a German online research company and database.
Florida CraftArt offered artists the opportunity to explore their thoughts about the Mystery of Life and fears about things that “go bump in the night” – translated into fine craft in this exhibit curated by Catherine Bergmann, curatorial director at the Dunedin Fine Art Center.
She posed the question, “Who doesn’t love a ghost, and who better to invite to the séance than a group of artists?”
Works are indeed spooky, macabre and dark, and mostly serious. Some matter-of-fact… as if there should be skulls and body parts, death masks in normal places in your house. Ghostly and sacred spirits.
Memories of times past, night terrors and nightmares and hope. Some somewhat fun, humorous, entertaining and even beautiful, bringing a smile amongst the terrible sad stuff.
I grew up fascinated by ghost stories, Ouija boards, those scary campfire tales (although I never went camping) and was a fan of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. Ghost Stories reminds me of the scary episodes that I would watch with my hands covering my face but my fingers spread apart.
One night we sneaked and watched an episode when my parents were out. To this day, I’m a bit spooked staying at homes with very large mirrors in the bedroom. Yeah, spirits in the other world will come out and grab ya. I also close the closet doors before going to bed.
FCA’s Ghost Stories weren’t so scary and not as frightening to me as anything I could have imagined. However, that might not have been the case if I had read through every artist’s statement about their otherworldly creations.
So now on to our scary, not-so-scary walk-through of Ghost Stories featuring all media – metal, wood, stained glass, fiber arts, mixed media, print making, jewelry, sculpture and assemblage.
It will make you think differently about life, death and how you live each day.
At first glance, Trent Manning’s Moth, Man or Myth, appears to be a whimsical, fairy-like doll. But on closer inspection it gives you pause. It is an eerie Moth doll made of salvaged trash items.
Moths are associated with transformation, and often as messengers of death coming from beyond.
Nick Reale’s struggle to show life and the afterlife is conveyed in Out of the Wood. Here are two traditional wooden marionettes, one holding on with dear life to another standing, and passive, figure. We read that Nick’s ghost story is a very real and personal one.
“No other piece in my career has cut so close to home. The piece is about my experience trying to save my brother my addiction,” he writes.
His brother died in 2003. Nick carved a wooden book to tell the story –”Brother One, Brother Two in a twist with a tree. Two struggling desperately to set One free. The danger! The risk! Hides from some to see. It lies deep inside the Sapsucker Tree.”
Downright macabre. I’m fascinated by Mark Georgiades’s piece with a gaping blue mouth.
It looks like Janna Kennedy raided an abandoned mansion to create her large Ghostly Memories complete with a Civil War wheelchair, old photographs (some framed), tools, keys and lanterns, scissors, a spool of thread, an empty perfume bottle, magnifying glass and, of course, a grinning skeleton with long light brown hair dressed in Victorian clothes.
An antique store addict could spend hours browsing the chair and the old, natural and dead objects.
Janna’s Souls and Pharmaceuticals is another interesting turn of the century piece set in a desk with a skull, photos, a roll of toilet paper, 19th century medicine bottles, pharmacy ledger and old drug advertising.
Is that a real tooth, in Demeree Barth’s Tooth Reliquary?
Cort Hartle, Puncture/Erupt – handbuilt ceramic sculpture
Through October 21
501 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg FL 33701
Monday-Saturday 10 am-5:30pm
Sunday 12-5 pm