May 242024

“After Storm in the Fen”, 2024, Oil on canvas

“Squall Lines”, 2024, Oil on canvas

For Rachel MacFarlane’s exhibition, Coming Events Cast Their Light Before Them, at Hollis Taggart, she has painted several dreamlike landscapes based on her travels to places impacted by climate events. She first creates maquettes from her observations (three are on view) and then uses them as the basis for the paintings.

From the press release-

At its core, MacFarlane’s work is about lamenting the loss of specific landscapes through creating and depicting new worlds where humans are no longer the protagonists. MacFarlane spends much of her time immersed in unique geographical environments – often ones that have been heavily impacted by climate change-related weather events. While working on her newest body of work, MacFarlane spent extensive time in places ranging from the Adirondacks to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Maine, and from Prince Edward Island right after it had been hit by Hurricane Fiona to Clearwater, Manitoba during unprecedented flooding. As has always been her practice, MacFarlane does not document while she travels, instead preferring to absorb the atmosphere of a place and spend time really immersed in its sights and sounds. Upon returning to her studio, MacFarlane transforms her observations into three-dimensional maquettes created out of paper, paint, and plastic.

As MacFarlane describes it, a lot of play takes place at her collage table, as she manufactures new spaces based loosely on the spirit of specific ones, drawing on a myriad of influences from theatre and architecture to the world-building of science fiction literature and movies. The paintings in this show were specifically influenced by MacFarlane’s research into the Augsburg Book of Miracles, a manuscript depicting celestial and weather phenomena made in Augsburg, Germany in the sixteenth century. MacFarlane was moved and inspired by how these anonymous illustrators centuries before her were also dedicated to tracking warning signs in the landscape and to recording them in creative ways.

While she describes the model-building as a distancing method, it is also one that creates intimacy, as the scale shift to a shallow box model leads to the creation of a miniature world we can literally hold in our hands versus the enormity of the environment. After MacFarlane distills the memory of a place into an object, she further transforms it into its final form on the canvas, using bold colors and thick brushwork that highlights the painterliness and artifice of her landscapes. As art critic Barry Schwabsky notes in the catalogue essay, these multiple translations and transformations allow MacFarlane to “operate with and against flatness and depth, illusion and physicality, naturalness and theatricality… Her work gives pleasure but also warns that with all these unavoidable antitheses, the choice of one pole or the other would be hopeless, and we have to learn to live with the tensions between them.”

This exhibition closes 5/25/24.

Nov 152023

The images above are from SUPERFLEX: This Is The Tip Of The Iceberg, GENERATOR: USF Contemporary Art Museum’s inaugural exhibition. The two part exhibition includes a sculptural installation and the mesmerizing interactive animation Vertical Migration, in which viewers encounter a siphonophore that reacts to their movements.

From the gallery about the exhibition-

This Is The Tip Of The Iceberg emerges from SUPERFLEX’s in-depth research into the deep sea, biodiversity, and the climate. The exhibition immerses viewers in two parallel and interconnected realms, separated by a curtain which acts as an imaginary filter between land and sea. Passing through the curtain brings visitors from a terrestrial space unsettled by rising water to the ocean’s dark depths, to meet one of the most important cleaners of the ocean, the siphonophore. Relatives of the jellyfish, siphonophores bring between two and six billion tons of carbon a year from the surface down to the seabed, where it is stored. This Is The Tip Of The Iceberg offers an opportunity to encounter this unfamiliar species, prompting reflection on the impacts and consequences of climate change, especially relevant to Florida and its coastal communities, and encouraging humans to imagine a future defined by interspecies living and ecological coexistence.

For a more detailed discussion of the work, the gallery has created an exhibition catalogue that can be viewed online or downloaded as a pdf.

Vertical Migration was originally created in 2021 by SUPERFLEX for ART 2030  and was projected on the United Nations Secretariat Building in NYC during the 76th United Nations General Assembly.

SUPERFLEX’s statement on the project-

The sea is not an abyss. It teems with an almost unimaginable array of life. Every night, the largest biological migration on Earth takes place, as trillions of creatures travel closer to the surface to feed. Some of these animals, like shrimp, are well-known. Others, like siphonophores—relatives of jellyfish—are unfamiliar: varying wildly in size, from the slightness of a fingernail to the length of a whale, they look like nothing that we find on land.

How does it feel to be one of these creatures? To explore this question, SUPERFLEX designed a computer-generated siphonophore and created an animated film, Vertical Migration, depicting its ascent. At first, the film mechanically circles the creature, getting closer and closer while giving the audience a view of it from all angles. But eventually the perspective shifts, the camera’s movements become more fluid, and the viewer sees the world from the perspective of the siphonophore.

Unsettling our perceptions of scale and otherness, Vertical Migration is an intimate encounter with a life form that bears no resemblance to human beings, though we share a planet, an ecosystem, and a future. Because of sea-level rise, humans will also be migrating vertically in the coming centuries, to higher elevations and raised buildings. The siphonophore’s story is our story. Though we can never experience its journey through the pitch-black ocean depths, we can shift our perspective to recognize that we’re connected, that our actions affect each other, and that we share a common fate.

For a look at the work in motion, below is the trailer from ART 2030.

About SUPERFLEX from their website-

SUPERFLEX was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, and Rasmus Rosengren Nielsen. Conceived as an expanded collective, SUPERFLEX has consistently worked with a wide variety of collaborators, from gardeners to engineers to audience members. Engaging with alternative models for the creation of social and economic organisation, works have taken the form of energy systems, beverages, sculptures, copies, hypnosis sessions, infrastructure, paintings, plant nurseries, contracts, and public spaces.

Working in and outside the physical location of the exhibition space, SUPERFLEX has been engaged in major public space projects since their award-winning Superkilen opened in 2011. These projects often involve participation, involving the input of local communities, specialists, and children. Taking the idea of collaboration even further, recent works have involved soliciting the participation of other species. SUPERFLEX has been developing a new kind of urbanism that includes the perspectives of plants and animals, aiming to move society towards interspecies living. For SUPERFLEX, the best idea might come from a fish.

This exhibition closes 11/22/23.

Oct 252023

Anthony Freese “State of Emergency”, 2023 vinyl and “Termination”, 2023 3D print

(L to R) Jay Giroux “Slow Burn”, 2023, waterborne acrylic on aluminum sign panel mounted to MDF; Ryan Lagasse, “This Isn’t Sunshine”, 2023, acrylic on wood; Blake Bailey, “Solar Pressure”, 2023, linocut relief print

Ryan Lagasse “This Isn’t Sunshine”, 2023, acrylic on wood

Jay Giroux, “Drug Store”, 2023, acrylic on primed MDF

RJ Martin, “Cold projections”, 2023, digital print on signboard and “Truth in blue”, 2023, 3D print

(left) Edgar Sanchez Cumbas, “Where There Is Brown There Is Gold”, 2023, digital print embellished with wax, acrylic, and charcoal on Arches cold press 140lb paper; (right) Joana Hila “Equilibrium of Insect & Flora”, 2023, mixed media

The works above are from Department of Contemporary Art’s latest group exhibition Degrees, organized with Tampa’s Greater Public Studio. It explores the multiple uses of the word “degrees” including in climate change, education and history.

Artists included in the exhibition- Blake Bailey, Anthony Freese, Jay Giroux, Joana Hila, Ryan Lagasse, Richard Martin, Julia Parrino, Alex Roberts, and Edgar Sanchez Cumbas.

About Degrees from the gallery’s website-

In this exhibition, we unravel the layers of meaning behind ‘Degrees’. From the nuanced shades of truth that shape our perceptions to the tangible degrees of temperature that influence our environment, the exhibition creates a dynamic dialogue between different dimensions of this concept.

Situated in a pivotal battleground state, the exhibition also contemplates the intricate relationship between degrees and the pressing issue of global warming. Delving into the political discourse, we examine how degrees of belief and denial intersect, particularly in the context of climate change debates.

Furthermore, the exhibition prompts contemplation on the notion of an art degree. What does it signify? How does it define one’s creative journey? These questions guide us through an exploration of artistic qualifications and the degrees of expertise they represent.

A journey through art history reveals the connection between degrees and lines, as we delve into the associations between angles, perspectives, and the progression of artistic movements. This collection invites you to ponder how degrees of inclination can shape artistic expression and historical narratives.

Join us in this immersive exhibition, where degrees of interpretation converge, offering a multi-dimensional encounter with the concept of ‘Degrees’.

Tomorrow (10/26/23) from 6-9pm is the last chance to see the show.

Sep 012022

Rise Above by Alex Yanes was created for the 2020 iteration of SHINE Mural Festival in St. Pete, Florida.

Information on this mural from the St. Pete Arts Alliance website-

Set between two large windows, the mural is 19 feet wide and 15 feet high. Sort of. Because the mural isn’t the usual rectangle – it’s shaped like an abstracted fish that’s swimming to the left, with angular fins jutting out, curling waves that break around it and a curling tail that’s fanned up like a whale.

Rise Above is a vibrant splash of shades of blues, pinks and orange, made up of 18 connected panels. The fish’s orange head points to the left, with sharply angled fins and a wide open mouth, both in shades of light and darker pink. The fish has aqua lips, an aqua throat, and a big dark eye outlined in aqua, painted as if light is glinting off it.

In the upper left, above the fish’s mouth, a blue and white wave rolls to the left.

The fish’s body stretches toward the right, starting with a square that bears a striking cartoon face and wide blue eyes staring straight out, masked by blue waves. Above the eyes is a black triangle with the word “RISE” in blue curved capital letters, shadowed in pink. The R, I and E are rising up and to the right, and the S falls below, to take up the rest of the triangle.

Balanced on the rising edge of that triangle are two dorsal fins along the fish’s back, shaped like pyramids in shades of red and orange and angled up and to the right.

Beside the word “RISE” and the orange pyramids, a big blue wave rolls to the right. Just below is more of the fish’s body – a long panel with the word “ABOVE” in wavy orange letters, like it’s underwater. Partly covering the “A” in “ABOVE,” a peachy cartoon hand faces out, gesturing “stop.” The hand stands out, in the center, as if the fish is balanced on it. The bottom of the hand’s palm is scalloped, like waves.

Below and to the right of the hand, triangular fins in shades of blue angle point and to the right. They echo the shapes of the pink fins below the fish’s mouth and the orange fins along its back.

The wave continues to the right, swooping up with an overlay of black and white patterns like scales, up to the jaunty two-pronged tail, in shades of orange. An active and hungry fish, rolling waves, a human, and the words “rise above” all appear together like a fragmented mirror, in roughly the shape of a fish.

The artist explains: “Intended to highlight how climate change is accelerating sea level rise, I was inspired to create a multi-level installation consisting of 18, precisely hand cut, panel pieces which create the image of a displaced fish when combined.

“The hand-painted panels are meant to mimic an intricate jigsaw puzzle, representing the complicated interconnection of factors which comprise the cause and effects of sea level rise.

“By collectively doing our part to cut out fossil fuels and limit carbon emissions, we can ‘Rise Above’ and reduce the impact of this inevitable threat.”

For more work by Alex Yanes- also check out his Instagram.


Aug 262022

There/Here: A Cry For Help, 2008/2011/2020

Three Carbon Catchers, 2021

The two works above are from Balance of Water, an exhibition of collaborative work by Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse,  at Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Information from the museum about the first image-

There/Here: A Cry For Help, 2008/2011/2020, is a map of the Gulf of Mexico with an overlay of a map of all the world’s water currents. It is meant to indicate that the world waters, as the world itself, is all connected. The Tarpon, representing all life in our waters, is encountering the effects of global warming.

For the second image-

Three Carbon Catchers, 2021- The Mangrove is a major absorber of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, if left in the atmosphere or in our waters is one of the main contributors to global warming. This painting honors the mangrove.

Mangroves thrive in saltwater environments where most plants cannot. They protect our shorelines from erosion and flooding. Worldwide, mangroves absorb about 24 million metric tons of carbon in the soil each year.

From LRMA’s website about the exhibition-

Balance of Water highlights contemporary artists Carol Mickett and Robert Stackhouse whose collaborative work raises awareness of the effects of climate change on our waterways. As this delicate ecosystem nears a tipping point, they explore ways to alleviate the warming of our waters and reveal the consequences of the rapidly changing climate with a sense of mindfulness and urgency. Since relocating from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs in 2017, Mickett and Stackhouse unveil their work to their recently adopted community in north Pinellas County for the first time with a series of monumental paintings that tell the overarching story of the effects of global warming.

This exhibition closes on 8/28/22.