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.
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.
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.
Morean Arts Center in St. Pete, Florida, is currently showing Fresh Squeezed 7, their annual exhibition of emerging artists in Florida. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the best artwork being done by local artists. The exhibition closes 6/22/23.
From the the Morean Arts Center’s press release-
As always, our selection panel culled over 120 applications from across the state, narrowing the exhibition down to the six artists featured here. It’s always a joyful and heartbreaking process, seeing so much inspiring good work and only having a limited amount of space in which to show it all.We were looking for diversity in medium, in ideas, and in geographical location, all of which somehow comes together to form a delightful, cohesive whole.
While we don’t necessarily plan it that way, themes and commonalities do emerge among the artists selected for the exhibition. We’re happy to announce this is the first year that we have an ALL FEMALE line up. And due to the inclusive interpretation we use to define an emerging artist (no previous solo shows in Florida), you’ll find artists here who are still pursuing their MFAs (KJ Skidmore and Leeann Rae) AND artists who are returning to their first love of art after finding fulfillment in decades of other related careers (Latonya Hicks and Deborah W. Perlman).
Other themes you may notice as you peruse the galleries are the inventive (and exuberant!) use of materials. Denise Treizman and Latonya Hicks both incorporate cast off, recycled and vintage materials in their dimensional wall work. While Denise’s process is more spontaneous and Latonya’s is deliberate and measured, they both create joyful works of art that invite contemplation and perhaps a spark of recognition from the viewer.
KJ Skidmore and Laura De Valencia both deal with contemporary issues and pop culture in their work, though to wildly different effect. KJ’s humorous mixed media paintings address the notion of the male gaze, and the women who must endure it. Laura’s installations use fashion culture as a jumping off point to raise questions about international stereotypes and the borders (both visible and not) that immigrants have to experience on a daily basis.
Both Leeann Rae and Deborah W. Perlman create work that challenge the viewer to look longer, and to think deeper. With their disparate materials (Leeann with soft pastel and Deborah with cut paper), they raise notions of space, whether physical or mental, real or imagined, in the present or a memory from the past.
KJ Skidmore “Squeeze ‘n’ Block”, Acrylic and coffee
KJ Skidmore “Angel’s Bar”, Acrylic, fabric, trim, paste and wood paper
Morean Arts Center’s information about the artist-
KJ’s current work is based in painting/drawing that extends into3-D space through multimedia installation. Her immersive spaces are chaotic and aggressive, but at the same time alluring. She works within her own bizarre and disjointed narratives and themes containing warped textual elements, strange cartoon characters, and color palettes that are both grimy and fluorescent. Her material use is variable and may include masses of hair clumped together with canned beets, pink stained carpet, fabrics, wood, plaster, teeth, rain jackets, and Smurf-themed objects.
KJ’s painted series Burger Time caricatures leering male clientele as flat, monster-like cartoons that interact with a staring waitress to explore gendered tropes and forms of voyeurism. This series reconstructs reality in relation to being female by presenting experiences like getting stared at or groped within a hokey themed attraction called “Burger Time” restaurant. Her series is meant to revolt the viewer through acknowledging the male gaze, while also celebrating its trashiness and the culture surrounding it. She uses humor to poke fun at this harmful and uneven power dynamic. The series presents this sickening concept through more palatable presentation such as expressive cartoon figures and bright colors.
KJ is from Gainesville, FL, but was living on the West Coast until recently. She is back in Florida pursuing an MFA at USF in Tampa.
For more of the artists in the show, continue to the next page.
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.