Oct 202023

“Ybor’s Colonel”, Acrylic on canvas

The images above are from El Arte: Echoes of Cuba a group exhibition on view at Clearwater’s Main Library this past summer that included the work of Tampa Bay artist Lynn Rattray. The work is part of her ongoing project creating portraits of the Historic Ybor City chickens. Each work she creates includes a biography of the bird.

Information on Ybor’s Colonel from the exhibition-

“In 2016, a law was broken. In the dark of night, a dingy bedraggled rooster was dropped off in the streets of Ybor City. Thrown away by his owner, he had little chance of survival in the feral community and his future seemed bleak.

Fast forward: He ascended to become the superstar of Centennial Park. Soon stunning in both appearance and character, he was dubbed, The Colonel, and a group of diverse humans became his fan club. Our Colonel was the guardian of baby chicks and new mama hens, protecting the little families from danger. Now when this artist sits in the silence of the park, she still feels the magic of our Colonel and sheds a tear for a life well lived.”

More detail on the Ybor City chicken project from her artist statement-

…A portion of her portfolio is dedicated to the free roaming chickens of Historic Ybor City. “Why chickens”, you might ask. The history of these beautiful birds dates back to 1885, when Tampa’s cigar industry was first established by Vincent Martinez Ybor. Moving his industry first from Cuba to Key West, he ultimately rebuilt in Tampa. His hopeful workers brought their families, and their chickens, from Key West, dreaming of a new and prosperous future. When the Great Depression hit that same year, the economy crashed and the cigar factories shuttered their doors.

Forced to seek new opportunities, the workers moved on, leaving their chickens behind to fend for themselves. Having adapted to life on the streets, the descendants of those original birds proudly remain in Tampa’s Historic Ybor City, linking us all to that bygone era. It’s the descendants of these original chickens that Lynn paints. Having spent much time observing the chickens, it is each bird’s personality that she seeks to capture, as much as the likeness. Working hand-in-hand with Dylan Breese, founder of Ybor Chicken’s Society, and The Ybor Misfits Micro-Sanctuary, (@theybormisfits), a recently established 503(1)(c) non-profit designed to help sick and injured chickens.

This collaboration assures that each portrait reflects not only the likeness but more importantly, the personality of the bird.

Rattray has a studio in the Kress Contemporary building in Ybor City and it is often open to the public. There you can find more of her chicken portraits as well as see the other charming paintings she is working on. The image below is of her studio at last night’s Ybor Arts Tour.


Oct 182023

Lindsay Oesterritter has created several lovely works for her current exhibition Orientation at Morean Center for Clay in St. Pete.

From the artist about her work-

“When I work with clay, I aim to convey a narration of time and place. I work in an intentionally straightforward manner, choosing the clay and combination of processes for the marks that will be left on the vessel. The processes of making are recorded on the surface of the object and begin to reveal the qualities of the material and tell a visual story.”

Oct 072023

Emiliano Settecasi, “Baby Blue Blowers”, 2023, faux fur, metallic fringe, box fans, wood

Jessica Caldas, “I come honouring your power (Clytemnestra)”, 2023, house linens, poly fiber fill, house patterned quilt, fabricated structures from gifted furniture, fabric wallpaper, found and embellished light fixture

Saumitra Chandratreya, “Throne”, 2022, Cyanotype on sateen, hand embroidery

Touchy/Feely at Hillsborough Community College’s Gallery 221 in Tampa has a lot of great interactive (and non-interactive work) on view. The three artists in the exhibition- Jessica Caldas, Saumitra Chandratreya, and Emiliano Settecasi– have contributed work that explores important themes while also adding an element of fun by allowing the viewer to become actively involved in the show.

The Curatorial Statement by Alyssa Miller-

Art touches you, and sometimes you get to touch it back. Challenging conventional gallery manners, Touchy/Feely encourages visitors to assume the role of participant by handling and manipulating several of the works on view. Contemporary fiber artists disrupt the long-held distinction between art and craft, blending the conceptual with the experiential in a highly tactile medium. In Touchy/Feely, artists Jessica Caldas, Saumitra Chandratreya, and Emiliano Settecasi go one step further in collapsing the space between artist and viewer, exploring themes of labor, motherhood, relationships, conscious choice, and joy through fiber art that both holds and is held.

So much of art and history is exhibited at a distance, close enough to see but never touch. Whereas engaging with the nature of textiles can be familiar, exciting, and sensational. Combinations of art and cloth have a long and fraught history within contemporary art, such as the novelty of interactive exhibitions that can become a commodity in contemporary museums. Ogled and beaten become the play spaces, tarnished and brassy the sculptures, worn and bruised the forms become overtime through the nature of interaction. Touchy/Feely aims to be a space in between museum rules and contemporary art photo-ops. Here, artists display a mix of interactive and static artwork that exemplifies intense feeling, encouraging the viewer to make decisions in real time, and submerge themselves in something they did not expect.

Ultimately, this exhibition satisfies my urge to explore, manipulate, caress, and experience art in a way not many individuals are able to do. In working behind the scenes, I am allowed to safely satisfy my interest in exploration. I will forever be grateful to the HCC Art Galleries team for their dedication to students, staff, and artists for this exhibition and the work they do year-round. I hope that visitors come away from this exhibition with a new experience, perspective, feeling, or sensation.

This exhibition closes on 10/12/23.

Jessica Caldas, “A name can be in a lot of places at once (Helen)”, 2023, house linens, crochet, fabricated structures from gifted furniture, polymer clay, yarn, polyfiber fill, fake pearls, and ceramic

Emiliano Settecasi, “Neon Green Furry Shelf”, 2023, faux fur, plywood, metal brackets; “Hand Bags (Purple)”, 2023 velvet Velour, polypropylene pellets; “Inman Ottoman”, 2023, ottoman reupholstered with vintage fabric that matches family chairs; Hand Bags (Merlot), 2023

Sep 282023

“Ripening Shadows”, 2023, Colored pencil on toned paper

It was great to see Lauren Mann’s drawings again, this time at Art Center Sarasota for her exhibition The Ephemerality of Being. Her work was previously part of 2022’s emerging artist exhibition Fresh Squeezed 6 at Morean Arts Center, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The artist’s statement about the show-

Growing up and getting older is seeing time pass and recognizing you can’t do anything but try to take in every moment. It’s exhausting. It’s taking a deep labored breath and deciding to rest in the peaceful aftermath of the realization that your time on earth is finite.

This work combines delicate portraiture with the rich symbolism of inanimate objects to create new, contemporary still lives. Bright, sanguine memento moris. By carefully veiling these reminders of humanity’s brittle ephemerality behind the facade of beautiful and nuanced illustrations of ordinary characteristics and relationships found in everyday life, it compels the viewer to reflect on their own lived experiences and feelings towards mortality, comparatively to those conveyed in these works.

This exhibition closes 9/30/23.

Aug 212023

Leora Stewart (1943-2021) “Banyan Tree”, Fiber wall hanging

Leora Stewart “Banyan Tree”, Fiber wall hanging (detail)

Norma Lewis (1929-2015) “Kimono”, Paper fiber

Nneka Jones- “Layers of Identity”, Fiber collage and embroidery on canvas

Kathleen “Kaki” King, “Syngonium”, Earthenware

Abraham Rattner (1893-1978), “Birds”, 1971, Wool

Taylor Robenalt, “Rookery Queen”, Ceramic

Josette Urso, “Chola”, 1990, Fabric collage, found object quilt

Duncan McClellan, “Alchemy”, 2013, Hand blown glass, sand carved

The works above are from Material Mastery: Florida CraftArt Permanent Collection of Fine Craft on view at Leepa Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs.

From the museum-

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.

This exhibition will close 8/27/23.

Artists included in this post-

Leora Stewart

Norma Lewis

Nneka Jones

Kathleen “Kaki” King

Abraham Rattner

Taylor Robenalt

Josette Urso

Duncan McClellan


Aug 182023

Car Smash Requiem, 2023 by Tony Rodrigues was part of the recently closed exhibition CMND/CTRL at Heiress Gallery in St. Pete, Florida.


Jun 162023

Paintings by Tiffany Snow

Work by Ride or Die Rod (left two paintings) and Zulu Painter

Work by Shereka Solomon

Green Book of Tampa Bay’s 3rd Annual Art Show -“Poetic Justice” at The Studio@620 was open to the public for June 2023’s ArtWalk in St. Pete.

In the back gallery were works by artist Dallas Jackson, which combine collage and painting- seen below.

Dallas Jackson, “Sharecropper”, 2018

Dallas Jackson, “Sharecropper”, 2018 (detail)

Dallas Jackson, “Journey to the Valley of Sin”, 2019

Dallas Jackson, “Journey to the Valley of Sin”, 2019 (detail)

This exhibition will be up until the end of June.