Angel Rivera Morales, “Dystopian Paradise I, II, and III”, 2023, Acrylic and oil on canvas
Gilbert Salinas, “As We Speak”, 2022, Mixed media on canvas
Juan Nieves Burgos, “Germinar de patria” and “Mundo sin tiranos”, 2019; Carmen Rojas Gines, “She Warrior-SW3 “Guerrera”-G3″, Steel metal
Valentin Tirado Barreto, “Salcedos Death- La Muerte de Salcedo” and “Rebellion of the slaves- Rebelión”, Acrylic on canvas
Currently at Creative Pinellas is the group exhibition Keepers of Heritage: Hidden Tales / Custodios de la Herencia: Cuentos Ocultos, on view until 10/15/23.
From the Creative Pinellas website-
Keepers of Heritage is an extended collaborative effort whose purpose is to document, present and promote the contributions of artists of Puerto Rican artists in the Caribbean archipelago and abroad.
Its roots go back to 2015 with the presentation of the “La Diaspora” exhibition at the Terrace Gallery in Orlando City Hall. Since then, the collective has expanded and traveled to institutions such as the National Museum for Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in Chicago, the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, and the Albin Polasek Museum in Winter Park, Florida.
Over eight years, the collective has documented and presented the work of nearly 30 artists whose artistic practices include a diversity of mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, engraving, multimedia, and photography.
Launched in 2006 to support the next wave of contemporary portraiture in the United States, the National Portrait Gallery’s celebrated triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition is a major survey of the best American portraiture selected by internationally prominent jurors and curators. Now in its sixth edition, The Outwin: American Portraiture Today presents 42 works selected from over 2,700 entries, that foreground the vibrancy and relevance of portraiture today. In addition to paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculptures, The Outwin includes video, performance art, and textiles, highlighting the limitless possibilities of contemporary portraiture.
Open to both emerging and established artists, this year’s entrants were encouraged to submit work that moves beyond traditional definitions of portraiture, and to explore a portrait’s ability to engage with the social and political landscape of our time. The variety of media and subjects featured in the exhibition invite audiences of all backgrounds to find relation in the human experience.
Since its inception, finalists for the exhibition have been determined by a panel of jurors including three Portrait Gallery staff members and four external professionals (critics, art historians, artists). The competition is endowed by and named for Virginia Outwin Boochever (1920 – 2005) who, for 19 years, volunteered as a docent at the Portrait Gallery. Her commitment to advancing the art of portraiture is continued through the support of her children.
Below are a selection of works from the show and information about them from the museum.
On walks around her Brooklyn neighborhood during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Alison Elizabeth Taylor encountered the hair groomer Anthony Payne, who,with his workplace shuttered, had taken his scissors, mirror, and chair to the streets. Payne sought to financially support the Black Lives Matter movement, especially in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, and turned over proceeds from his donation-based haircuts to organizations advocating for social justice.
Taylor’s process, one she developed and named “marquetry hybrid,” incorporates vivid paints, inkjet prints, and the natural grains of over one hundred veneers. Marquetry, with its inlaid combination of woods, can “memorialize,” Taylor notes. She acknowledges the history of the craft, which was favored by Louis XIV (1654-1715) when he was acquiring furniture for Versailles. By giving Payne this “royal treatment,” Taylor aims to pay tribute to him.”I want him to see how much his example meant to me,” she explained.
Kira Nam Greene, “Kyung’s Gift in Pojagi (From the series “Women in Possession of Good Fortune”)”, 2019 Oil, gouache, colored pencil, and acrylic ink on canvas
Kira Nam Greene– Kyung’s Gift in Pojagi (From the series “Women in Possession of Good Fortune”), 2019
In this mixed-media work, by Kira Nam Greene, the artist Kyung Jeon faces us with relaxed self-assurance. She is carefully positioned on her couch as her long black hair falls over her orange and turquoise tunic. In the foreground, a wooden cylinder containing paint brushes reveals her medium of choice. A plate with persimmons, consumed during the harvest festival Chuseok to celebrate good fortune, brims with potential while the rest of the painting pulsates with action.
Greene situates her friend in a fantasy world that echoes Jeon’s artwork and their mutual interest in the traditional Korean fabric quilting technique of pojagi. Two rabbits, representing Jeon’s Chinese zodiac, appear to be concocting a potion. Flowers sprout as kaleidoscopic patterns envelop her. The reference to pojagi, the visible paint drips in the background painting, and the hands of the sitter- left unfinished- invoke the role of tradition, process, and exploration in artmaking.
Stuart Robertson, “Self Portrait of the Artist” from the “Out and Bad” series, 2020, Aluminum, earth, acrylic paint, enamel, paper,metallic bubble wrap, sequins, and gold foil on wood
“In my world, skin is high-tech, amorphous, and armored,” the artist Stuart Robertson observes. “Blackness is percussive, lustrous, flexible, and indestructible.” Self-Portrait of the Artist depicts a fragment of a man- half of his face and his upper torso-shiny and monumental. A black beard delineates his jaw, and a small gold hoop adorns his ear. Although the figure is cropped beyond recognition, the work’s title provides a clue.
Through the alternation of flat and repoussé aluminum sheets, Robertson achieves a hypnotic effect, a poignant tension playing on what he reveals or hides from us viewers. His refusal to depict his entire face or figure challenges the notion of what a portrait should be and blocks the objectification of the Black male body, so often sexualized in visual culture. Simultaneously, Robertson delivers an irrepressible, resplendent image of that body, one inspired by the aesthetics of Jamaica’s dancehall culture.
Vincent Valdez, “People of the Sun (Grandma and Grandpa Santana)”, 2019, Oil on canvas
An elderly couple faces us with the gentle authority that old age provides. People of the Sun (Grandma and Grandpa Santana) is a portrait of Vincent Valdez’s maternal grandparents. “My grandparents spent most of their time outside,” the artist recalled. “Grandpa spent his entire life working under the blazing Texas sun as a carpenter and yard worker, cutting lawns in the wealthy communities of San Antonio right up until he passed away. Grandma was constantly working with her hands–raising kids, washing, sewing clothes, and tending the plants in her yard.”
The Santanas are depicted in a space defined by details the artist remembers: their vintage AM radio, their plants, their homemade clothes. The bedsheet, like the Virgen de Guadalupe’s aura, signals their spiritual role in the family. This portrait connects the pair to the Indigenous and mestizo cultures of the American Southwest, including the Aztec and Maya, who honored the sun.
For more work from the exhibition, please head to page 2.
Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroonian, b. 1967), “Road to Exile”, 2018. Wooden boat, cloth bundles, glass bottles, and plastic containers
Currently on view at Tampa Museum of Art is Time for Change: Art and Social Unrest in the Jorge M. Pérez Collection. The exhibition highlights art from around the world that focuses on social issues.
From the museum-
“It is enough for the poet to be the bad conscience of his age”, stated Saint-John Perse in his 1960 Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Something similar could be said when artists address the transformations of society. We should not ask for measurable political action when their role is to point out, to render evident, to shake us from indifference. Art may not provide answers, but most of the time it interrogates and proposes uncomfortable issues, almost like rubbing salt in a wound. Artists are seldom celebratory, nor do they usually provide solutions-art’s potency lays in the symbolic efficacy of the actions it proposes more than in the practical effects they entail. Paraphrasing Brazilian poet Ferreira Gullar, “art exists because life is not enough.”
Time for Change is structured around six themes or nuclei: Entangled Histories, Extraction and Flows, Artivism, State Terror, Spatial Politics, and Emancipatory Calls. The sections are organically linked and establish dialogue and correlations among artworks that do not necessarily illustrate an argument nor are they contained by one. Entangled Histories proposes essential questions: how do we remember as a society? Who is forgotten by History, and for what reasons? Extraction and Flows examines displacement of peoples (usually forced), as well as the unequal logic on the territory. Artivism: Art in the Social Sphere focuses on political unrest and public protest on the streets. State Terror signals how protest is countered with repression and violence. The fifth section, Spatial Politics, reflects on modern architecture and its role in creating segregated communities. Lastly, Emancipatory Calls summons to reclaim difference, in the understanding that a more just society can only be built on respect for one’s right to be different.
A comprehensive look at the Jorge M. Pérez Collection reveals a tendency towards art with an interest in social change- art that examines the conflicts and contradictions of contemporary society, art that critically analyzes historical events and reframes them in the present. Many of the 60 works on view, due to their size or complexity have rarely been exhibited and are shown together for the first time in Time for Change.
In 2018, the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York hosted Barthélémy Toguo’s first solo exhibition in the United States. While on site at the Parrish he made Road to Exile, a large-scale installation highlighting the plight of refugees, in particular African migrants in search of a better and safer quality of life. The installation features a life-sized wooden boat that rests on glass bottles. A metaphor of the dangerous voyage across the sea, the bottles represent the fragile line between life and death. The boat nearly overflows with bundles wrapped in brightly colored African textiles and serve as stand-ins for the body. In Road to Exile Toguo employs imagery of the boat as a means of escape rather than a vessel for exploration or adventure.
Below are images from the exhibition as well as some information on a few of the works.
Rashid Johnson, “A Place for Black Moses, (2010), bottom right sculpture, and Christopher Myers “How to Name a Famine, a Fire, a Flood”, 2019, left wall piece
Christopher Myers “How to Name a Famine, a Fire, a Flood”, 2019, Applique fabric
From the museum about the above work-
Storytelling anchors Christopher Myers’ artistic practice. Working in a range of media, he mines history and creates art that links the past to the present. Myers’ tapestries, such as How to Name a Famine, a Fire, a Flood draws on the rich tradition of quilt making as a quiet yet radical form of resistance and protest. The stories depicted center on the effects of globalization on individuals and more specifically, communities of color. In How to Name a Famine, a Fire, a Flood, Myers portrays three different natural disasters linked to climate change. With vivid color and patterned fabric, he illustrates the impact and devastation of these catastrophic events in neighborhoods with minority populations.
Carlos Garaicoa “La habitacion de mi negatividad (The Room of My Negativity)”, 2003, 39 ink and pencil drawings on rice paper and toy train installation
Carlos Garaicoa “La habitacion de mi negatividad (The Room of My Negativity)”, 2003 (detail)
Carlos Garaicoa “La habitacion de mi negatividad (The Room of My Negativity)”, 2003 (detail)
About the above work from the museum-
Carlos Garaicoa works in a variety of media, ranging from installation, photography, and video to performance and public interventions. His early work in the 1990s focused on the urban decay of Havana as result of its political climate and economic strife. La habitacion de mi negatividad (The Room of My Negativity), turns Garaicoa’s lens inward. In this installation, comprised of toy trains and drawings of medical instruments, the artist explores his psyche and subconscious. The train’s engine pulls words that represent Garaicoa’s negative thoughts. Each train is connected to thin red thread that acts as a vein or conduit for the negative thoughts to travel. Arrange in a curved form, the train shapes mimic brain waves or the slink of a snake. Garacoia’s drawings of medical tools serve as mechanisms in which the negatively could be excavated from one’s mind.
Esterio Segura, “La historia se muerde la cola (History Bites its Tail)”, 2015, (statue bottom left); Anamaría Devis, “Infinito (Infinite)”, 2018(upper right)
Anamaría Devis, “Infinito (Infinite)”, 2018, Ink on paper
Anamaría Devis, “Infinito (Infinite)”, 2018, Ink on paper (detail)
About this work from the museum-
Anamaría Devis’ large-scale installation Infinito (Infinite) represents the artist’s study of African history in San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia. Escaped slaves founded Palenque and it was the first free town in the Americas during colonial times. While researching this history, Devis discovered that in this region of Colombia, braided hairstyles worn by Africans served as escape maps. Braid patterns reflected safe points in the area’s topography. This silent form of resistance inspired her to look at other bodily topographies like the characteristics of fingerprints, which also had names associated with cartography such as crossing, island, and fork. Devis then began to create drawings that incorporated footprints, braid patterns, and elements of nature. From the drawings she made stamps and each panel of paper that comprises Infinito (Infinite) is rendered from Devis’ various imprints. The result is an abstract representation of the body and landscape visualized through mapping and codes.
Jonathas de Andrade, “A batalha de todo dia de Dona Luzia, de Tejucupapo (The daily battle of Dona Luzia, from Tejucupapo)”, 2022 Images printed on raw falconboard
About this work from the museum-
Jonathas de Andrade collaborated with the Brazilian theater company Teatro Heroínas de Tejucupapo to create a visual reenactment of the historic 1646 Battle of Tejucupapo. For nearly 25 years, between 1630 and 1654, the Dutch occupied the northeast of Brazil including Tejucupapo, a small community in the city of Goiana. During the Battle of Tejucupapo, a brigade of black and indigenous women forced Dutch soldiers to retreat by arming themselves with household and farm objects. The Teatro Heroínas de Teiucupapo commemorates this female-led rebellion each April by restaging the battle with local actors.
Artist Jonathas de Andrade celebrates the power and courage of Tejucupapo’s women with his large-scale photographic installation A batalha do todo dia de Tejucupapo (The Battle of Tejucupapo). The work on this wall, A batalha de todo dia de Dona Luzia, de Tejucupapo (The daily battle of Dona Luzia, from Tejucupapo), presents everyday objects from the home of one of the women participating in Teatro Heroínas de Tejucupapo. This inventory explores the daily struggles, as well as strength, of Brazil’s black and indigenous women that have spanned centuries.
Florida CraftArt (formerly known as Florida Craftsmen) was organized in 1951 by Stetson University art professors Elsa and Louis Freund as a statewide organization celebrating fine craft. As the only statewide nonprofit representing Florida’s fine craft artists, Florida CraftArt is a member-supported organization helping mentor and advance artists. Now headquartered at 5th Street and Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, this vibrant organization has been at the center of St. Pete’s artistic renaissance.
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is delighted to partner with Florida CraftArt to showcase their permanent collection and enduring contribution to Florida’s cultural heritage. The goals of this collection are to recognize the significance of Florida’s fine craft art in our broad artistic landscape, document the rich tradition of craft art statewide and beyond, and to educate and inspire future generations of artists and arts appreciators.
Norbert Gonsalves, “Mood Indigo” and “Mellow Yellow”
“Interrupted Structure #61” by Babette Herschberger, Mixed media collage and acrylic on panel and “Stoneware Cups”
“Maia” and “Hektor” clay works by Craig Wood
Ceramic pieces by Jennifer Rosseter
Above are a few pieces from some of the artists in Salon Gestalt at the Morean Center for Clay in St. Pete, Florida.
From the center about the show-
Salon Gestalt is an annual exhibition of work created by the studio artists working out of the Morean Center for Clay. As the largest clay center in the Southeast United States, we take pride in the diverse collection of work that is created within these walls. Since 2001 our historic train station has brought together innumerable artists who, despite their individuality, find common ground in a shared passion for clay. Our center is a space where artists engage in dialogue, exchange ideas, and challenge one another. There is power in community, and clay has the unique ability to foster a strong sense of camaraderie. In sharing space, these artists support one another and grow together, nurturing both individual artistic practice and collective ambition.
Salon Gestalt is a reinterpretation of the Paris Salon. While the original exhibitions have a history of exclusion and classism, our revision of the Salon rejects the notion that there is hierarchy in the arts. The Morean Center for Clay is a space where the novice and experienced artists can come to create and learn in a communal environment where everyone is accepted as equal. Together these artists form a collection of work that creates something greater than the sum of its parts.
For more about the artists pictured above, head to the websites and Instagram links below.
Work by Jenny Granberry (top) and Victoria Block (bottom)
Journals by Eva Avenue (top left) and Laura Waller (bottom left) and photography by Andrew Sovjani
On the second floor of the Dunedin Fine Art Center are photographs by Andrew Sovjani and a collection of sketchbooks from a variety of artists, many of which you can look through- with gloves of course. It’s easy to spend lots of time with all the inspiring books these artists have created.
The exhibition closes 8/13/23.
About Andrew Sovjani, from the gallery-
Andrew Sovjani is a visual artist recognized for blurring the boundaries between photography, printmaking and painting. Raised in a family of working studio artists, art making is in his blood. Andrew has drawn from his life experiences in the scientific world and living in Asia to create transcendent bodies of work that are often extremely peaceful. His award-winning photographs have been shown in exhibitions throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan and are held in many public and private collections. He has won awards of distinction at many of the top fine arts festivals in the nation and was a finalist for the Critical Mass book awards in 2008 and 2016.
“From the moment we are born until we die, we are almost constantly in contact with cloth as we move through our lives. Without thinking about it, we are familiar with its varied qualities–the simplicity of white cotton, the luxury of silk velvet, the flexibility of knitting, the structure of weaving. We can see the impact of time in a piece of fabric: how it wrinkles, stains, takes repairs, unravels. Handmade paper is a kind of non-woven cloth and is in fact often made of recycled cotton or linen. It can be dyed, stitched, wrinkled, torn, and repaired much in the same way as fabric.
My work explores the expressive possibilities of these materials, which I use to deal with my fascination with time altered urban and rural landscapes. A piece of land in the Oregon outback, the brick wall of buildings in Madison, a leafy Minneapolis neighborhood, etc. are all impacted by the passing of time, actions of human beings, weather. These occurrences can be incremental or sudden, and the change they bring almost imperceptible or very radical, each change layering on top of what came before. I use that observation to inspire my work. Fabric surfaces are worked over with layers and layers of pigments, embellished with embroidery, dunked into dye, cut and torn. Paper pulp is poured, dipped, mixed with sawdust, painted, crumpled and smoothed out again. In this small human way, I am channeling the world into the objects I create.”
For more than two decades, Brooklyn-based artist Rico Gatson has been celebrated for his vibrant, colorful, and layered artworks. Inspired by significant moments in African American history, identity politics and spirituality, his oeuvre includes images of protests and longstanding injustices—touching on subjects like the murder of Emmett Till, the Watts Riots, and the formation of the Black Panthers—as well as dynamic abstract geometries that celebrate Pan-Africanist aesthetics and Black cultural and political figures.
About the mural, Zora III, commissioned by the museum (pictured above)-
Zora Neale Hurston was an American author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. She portrayed racial struggles in the early-1900s American South and published research on hoodoo (a set of spiritual practices, traditions, and beliefs created by enslaved Africans in the Southern U.S.). The most popular of her four novels is Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937. Born in Notasulga, Alabama, Hurston grew up near Orlando, in Eatonville, Florida, incorporated in 1887 as one of the first self-governing all-black municipalities in the country. Despite her landmark achievements, Hurston died penniless and in obscurity in 1960-her novels and other writings largely unknown, until they were single-handedly rescued by novelist Alice Walker in 1975. Through his wall painting Rico Gatson extends the monumental impact of Hurston’s legacy-and Walker’s- into a visual arena reminiscent of the Mexican Muralists and hand-painted cinema signs.
“Untitled (Seven Panels)”, 2022 acrylic paint on wood, in seven parts
From the museum’s wall plaque about the above paintings-
According to catalog contributor Mark Fredricks, Rico Gatson’s “panel paintings” resemble “a musical framework.” Arranged together along a single wall, the “rhythm” animating their colorful compositions and their “uniformity of structure” suggest, anthropomorphically speaking, musicians in a jazz combo. One of the many ways in which Gatson draws on music as a lasting influence in his art, his seven panels approximate what legendary jazz player Albert Ayler described as “the healing force of the universe,” but in three dimensions.
“Don” 2022, Color pencil and photo-collage on paper
“Sidney” 2022, Color pencil and photo-collage on paper
“Miles #2″ 2022, Color pencil and photo-collage on paper
Below are images are from Four Stations, one of the five moving image works in the exhibition. For this work, Gatson traveled to Money, Mississippi and took handheld footage along the trail of places and events that led to the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till.
According to artist Kimberly Engel, the paintings above “explore vibrant color interaction while inviting viewers to meditate on an illusive horizon line where sky meets water.”
From the Creative Pinellas website-
Kimberly Engel is a contemporary abstract painter who lives and works in Clearwater, Florida. Her distinct gestural style combines a love for color interaction with spontaneous mark making. Engel’s paintings explore levels of transparency, evoking depth and light. She is inspired by the constant presence and changing states of large bodies of water. She has lived on the shore of Lake Erie in Euclid, Ohio prior to moving to the Gulf Coast.
Engel describes her process as an exploration of herself and ultimately the dissolving of herself mirrored in the process of making and deconstructing works. Her gestural marks have been described as both compulsive and somewhat calligraphic. They undulate and disappear under thin veils of color.
Dennis DeBon is the creator of EnergyWebs, which are one-of-a-kind works of modern glass art. He is often been compared to artist Jackson Pollock. Like Pollack, Dennis uses simple artistic techniques and has combined reverse painting on glass with spin art and taken both to a whole new level.
Each EnergyWeb is cut from a large sheet of plate glass, then free-style hand-cut into shape, scalloped, polished then spun. Dennis uses a multitude of application techniques and color combinations when creating each piece before firing and hand-signing them.
Every EnergyWeb is a unique, one-of-a-kind work of modern glass art and he is the only artist in the world creating them.
In addition to selling his artwork at fine art festivals across the country, Dennis was commissioned as the artist to create the Richard Dawkins Awards. In addition, his past creations have been presented to James “The Amazing” Randi, Carl Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan, and the Zora Neale Hurston and the Koi Society of America award winners.
Dennis was born and raised in Buffalo, New York and attended the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, where he studied photography and graphic design.
He now lives in Saint Petersburg, Florida and when he isn’t creating art, you might find him writing screenplays or in the boxing ring . . . working as a professional boxing referee.
For more of the artists in the exhibition, head to the pages below.