Sebastian Coolidge’s “Place” at the COVE

Sebastian Coolidge‘s latest opus entreats visitors like a theme park attraction for the unconventionally inclined.

Creative Pinellas peeked in on the famed muralist/artist while installing “What Is This Place?” at theŒæCOVE, aka Creative Opportunities and Visual Entertainment.

COVE owner, frequent collaborator and friend Derek Donnelly helped install the colorful mixed-media installation, which Coolidge relocated from Orlando to the recently opened space at the Pinellas Arts Villageξin Pinellas Park.

Some of Coolidge’s signature motifs are instantly recognizableŒæ– comicallyŒæelongated limbs, nods to the past, anthropomorphic creatures and a vivid, dream-like surreality.

From there, the installation takes us into Coolidge’s anxieties and imagination. There’s a wholesome princess/girl next door type pining at the window but no hero or prince charming; rather a big-headed idiot with diarrhea of the mouth (warning: expletives are detailed in 3-D dialogue bubbles). Between the two, macro and micro imagery converge, bringing you up close and taking you far away at the same time.

The installation also reflects the passage of time. You enter at daytime and leave at night; you fall into the looking glass and are spit out the Far Side.

Allusions aside, this brave new world is unlike anywhere you’ve visited. It has mischief and a little morality; goodness and a little grime. ItsŒæembellishedŒæworldview comes with acknowledgements of conventional thought and all thatŒælies beneath and hovers above it.

“What Is This Place?” opened to the public last Saturday afternoon, and visitors have responded enthusiastically, posting numerous accolades to the event’s Facebook page. It’s aŒætruly immersive exhibit, from itsŒæcarpeted tongue to a cigarette-smoking globe to the stars on the ceiling.

See it at the COVE through June 24. Portions of the exhibit are for sale, including wooden panels and mobiles.

–Text by Julie Garisto; Photos by Daniel Veintimilla

Sebastian Coolidge at work, in black-and-white.
Detail of main gallery #1
Detail of main gallery #2
Detail of main gallery #3 (Blonde at window)
Detail of main gallery #4 ( Big Mouth and floor tongue)
Close-up of Earth with alien abduction
Derek Donnelly installing a spotlight
Vintage wholesomeness meets seedier elements.
Detail of main gallery #5 (Dog Flower)
Donnelly drives his art to work along with a chameleon on theŒæleft side of his van.ŒæDonnelly’s Van, right side
Trojan horse with ocean behind it
Close up of head of Trojan Horse

Leave a Reply

Become a Creative Pinellas Supporter