The Arts Annual at Creative Pinellas is always a great way to see what the artists in the area are creating. For 2023’s larger than ever edition, there is also a separate space for a video program that includes short films, theater productions, poetry readings, musical performances and more.
Below are some additional selections from the exhibition.
Reid Jenkins, “Holding Court”, Acrylic
Candace Knapp, “What the Blue Heron Sees” and “The Light Within” Acrylic on canvas
Daniel Barojas, “Future Ancestor”, Gouache, acrylic, gold leaf on canvas and “Future Ancestor #3”, Gouache and resin on paper
Rachel Stewart, “Caribbean Currents” Colored pencil, oil stick and collage on Archers archival paper; “Under a Different Sky”, Wall installation Painted relief wood construction with cooper and mixed media materials; Printing Ink and collage on rice paper
Mark Mitchell, “The BurgHive”, Acrylic on Hexagonal canvases
Sketzii,”Out of the Pink Concrete”, “Reclamando Mis Raices” and “A Señora’s Dream”, Acrylic on canvas
Steph Hargrove, “Catch You Later”, Acrylic paint, paper on canvas
Marlene Rose, “Three Bell Tower”, Sandcast glass and “Map Triptych” Sandcast glass
Heather Rippert, “Shakti” (center) and “Hawk 1, 2, and 3”, acrylic on canvas
The Ybor City Arts Tour was last week and was a great way to check out the many spaces currently in the Ybor City area. The Kress Contemporary building with its multiple galleries, artist studios, performance space (The Fringe Theatre), and microcinema, was definitely a highlight.
Kim Radatz opened her space, currently showing an installation focused on the “C” word.
Screen Door: An Ybor City Microcinema is always showing interesting films from a variety of genres. Pictured are the seating area and the movie posters lining the hallway outside of the film viewing area. For the art tour they were showing past Flex Fest short films.
On the third floor are a large group of artist studios with several walls hanging work by many of the artists.
Self taught painter Karol Batansky just moved in to her new studio from the Ybor Art Colony which is closed while currently being renovated.
Mixed media artist Chase Parker makes a variety of work, including the unique sculptures pictured above.
Ron Watson creates highly detailed drawings at his Shades of Gray Studio.
Below is one of the common spaces filled with work by a selection of artists. It’s always worth a trip up from the 2nd floor galleries even if most of the artists are not in their studios to see what’s new.
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.
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.
Closing tomorrow, 6/24, is Cross Communication, an exhibition of Chris Burden’s relics, films, video works, and other materials that document his early performances at Gagosian’s 75th and Park location in NYC.
Walking into the gallery and hearing one of his TV commercials in which he reads off the names of famous artists followed by his own name (Chris Burden Promo (1976)), is a humorous introduction to Burden’s often audacious work. Poem for LA from 1975, which follows with the messages- “SCIENCE HAS FAILED”, “HEAT IS LIFE” and “TIME KILLS” still resonates today.
Check out the video below to see the commercials and hear Burden discuss the work.
Other videos included have him crawling across glass; lying between two sheets of glass that are on set on fire (Icarus); and one of his most infamous- being shot in the arm (Shoot, 1971). The less outrageous works are great too, including Disappearing (1971), pictured above.
For more on the artist, the excellent documentary Burden, by Richard Dewey and Timothy Marrinan, follows his career from these earlier works to the large scale sculptures like Metropolis II and Urban Light that came later. Both of these installations are on view in Los Angeles at LACMA.
The latest pop-up exhibition at Chad Mize’sSPACE in St. Pete’s Warehouse Arts District, is Hot Box, which opened Friday 6/9/23. The show includes a LOT of artists and installations as well as, for this past weekend, an immersive performance by Dirty John’s comedy troupe.
Micaela Amateau Amato, “Yoran Por Aire (contes brevas)”
Photographs by Amadia Shadow Rabbit
Film still from Kiara Mohammed Amin’s “Black Presence”
Film still from Kiara Mohammed Amin’s “Black Presence”
Soonoqo: We Become Body in Waves of Light and Sound at Dunedin Fine Art Center is a multimedia exhibition of 18 artists from around the world who “share a common desire for healing, communal growth and interdependence with nature” curated by S. Toxosi.
S. Toxosi’s statement about the exhibition (from the gallery wall)-
I do not possess the language to truly describe the be-holdings within Soonoqo. As a term within the Somali language, it would be difficult to translate into contemporary English. It considers a pluralistic worldview that allows ‘becoming and returning’ to bear witness of itself, within oneself while conjoining through space and time. Soonoqo, basks in the universal soul. Its otherness is imbued as the ‘physical cosmos’ and all its avatars and manifestations.
To speak in metaphor or in a sense of ‘poetic meditation’, one would engulf whirling vortexes, volcanoes and maelstroms that end up in other universes from which bring new revelations or images, The senses are engaged as viewed in Bruno Ferreira Abdala’s video art When Mother Breathes. It is here we can see a pluralist’s sensibility where the cohorts of Soonoqo ‘become and return’ with offerings that contend with the mythical genesis through the acknowledgement and practices of ancestral wisdom, queering mores, spirituality and love. Thus creating fission through initiating and remembering. There is a subtlety of conjuration, ritual, humility, vulnerability in K. Tauches’s Q.A.L. video-making that unfolds and reveals the sentience of a Nature that provides true sustainability.
Soonoqo is a web of interconnected lights in continuous synchrony. It enables manifestations from varied domains of areas of perceptibility through human inner weavings of life experiences and becomes a variety of communicative prowess that encompasses video arts, film, photography, the written word and sonic compositions. These forms all ultimately resonate with and point toward healing where one/all is purified, catalyzed and cleansed through cooperation with nature, technology, shadow matter, dark matter and invisible matter. As can be seen in the film Womb not Tomb by Dea, where she investigates and yields to the teaching of the four elements or in Kiara Mohammed Amin’s Black Presence, a short film of talismanic energy and transformation.
Artist Claes Oldenburg passed away this week at the age of 93. He was most famous for his large scale sculptures of everyday objects, many of which were produced with his wife Coosje van Bruggen, who passed away in 2009.
While primarily working in sculpture, early in his career in the 1960s he also created “happenings”- theatrical art related performances and collaborations with other artists in his circle. In 1985 he returned to performance and along with van Bruggen, architect Frank Gehry, and writer Germano Celant presented Il Corso del Coltello (The Course of the Knife) in Venice, Italy. In 2021, Pace Gallery in NYC, as part of the two gallery exhibition Claus & Coosje, showed work from this performance, pictured below.
From Pace’s website about the performance-
This ambitious event involved the creation and embarkation of a sea-worthy sculpture in the shape of a giant Swiss army knife. With oars protruding from its red-enameled hull as if from a Viking longship, the image of Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s Knife Ship sailing the Grand Canal has become iconic, while the massive kinetic sculpture was later shown in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and finally at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
With so much of Oldenburg’s work, the examination of the ordinary object engages the viewer with what they might previously taken for granted and gives them a chance to look again with new eyes. There is also something lighthearted and fun, as well as investigative, about his body of work.
(image via Whitney Museum’s website)
The Whitney Museum has a video showing the process of assembling his soft sculpture Giant BLT(Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich) 1963, which involves putting the sandwich together piece by piece.
For more on Oldenburg, MoMA has a tribute that includes the words of people who knew him as well as his own. His 1961 artist statement is wonderful and worth reading in its entirety, here is the opening section-
I AM FOR
I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero.
I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap and still comes out on top.
I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or violent, or whatever is necessary.
I am for all art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.
I am for an artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting signs or hallways.
The Guardian’s obituary is also worth a read for more information on the artist’s history.
Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration, is the second iteration of a joint exhibition across four institutions that highlights contemporary art created in the Central Florida region. Artists selected by a jury are from five counties- Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota. The exhibitions are an excellent sampling of the work being made in the Tampa Bay area.
The works shown in this post are from the exhibition at the Tampa Museum of Art. The museum has a video playlist on YouTube that includes all of the artists in the exhibition discussing their work. The links below are to the artists’ websites or those videos.
For Selina Román’s XS series, she created abstract self portraits that examine standards of beauty in relation to expectations of weight and body. The title XS references an extra small size and alludes to the word excess.