Apr 172024
 

Currently Tampa Museum of Art is showing work from Garry Winogrand’s book, Beautiful Women. The photographs are from the 1960s and 1970s and are a fascinating glimpse of this time period. His ability to find and capture these brief moments is impressive.  At the same time, some of the photos of these women feel invasive and, as said in the museum’s statement on the work below, voyeuristic.

From the museum-

Garry Winogrand was a master at photographing the unseen, extraordinary moments of everyday life. With his Leica camera, Winogrand photographed both up close and at a distance, but spontaneously as the image came together. He liked to break the rules of photography by ignoring traditional horizon lines and shooting at titled angles to create compositional allure.
Described as one of the 20th-century’s most influential street photographers, Winogrand often defied social decorum by getting into the space of his subjects – sometimes unknowingly to the person and at other times to their great annoyance. He captured life in the 1960s and 1970s in the blink of an eye, preferably with his 28mm lens which allowed more of what was in front of him to be featured in the frame. Winogrand once remarked, “I photograph to see what the world looks like in photographs.”

Women are Beautiful represents of one Winogrand’s most celebrated yet controversial artworks. His magnum opus, Women are Beautiful was first published as a book in 1975 and later printed as a portfolio in 1981. Comprised of 85 photographs, the works were shot over a ten-year period between 1965 and 1975, notably at the height of second-wave feminism and the sexual revolution, the anti-war movement, and the civil rights movement. As the title suggests, women served as the inspiration for the project. Winogrand culled images from his extensive archive that emphasized the confidence, vibrancy, and individuality of the American woman. While the photographs have been lauded as artifacts of their time, the works have also been criticized as voyeuristic and invasive to women’s privacy. Both observations deserve consideration in viewing this body of work.

The presentation of Women are Beautiful in this gallery follows the format of the book, which is now out of print. Winogrand selected the images and organized the photos without reference to subject, date, and place. Apart from the first photograph in the series, the images are presented as pairs to represent Winogrand’s book spreads. This arrangement aims to highlight how the photographer viewed and read his pictures. While women anchor the photographs, Winogrand looked at the total image-such as the other people in the photo or the quietness of solitude, the surrounding landscape, and the objects featured in the frame. At quick glance, the connections between images may not appear readily visible but it is in these photographs that Winogrand invites viewers to take a longer, closer look at the pictures. Subtle gestures such as the common angle of limbs and facial profiles, or shadows, corners, and lines – even the shared shading of a hat and tree-inspired Winogrand’s paired selections. Viewed together, the photographs reveal a deliberate sequencing and pacing, like a storyboard or film. Winogrand’s Women are Beautiful offers insight into the vantage point of one the 20th-century’s most accomplished photographers.

Below are some of the pairs from the show.

This exhibition closes 4/21/24.

Apr 122024
 

Brookhart Jonquil, “Groundless”, 2023, Mirrors, steel, acrylic paint, enamel paint

Brookhart Jonquil, “Groundless”, 2023, Mirrors, steel, acrylic paint, enamel paint (detail)

Brookhart Jonquil, “E)A)R)T)H)”, 2012, Mirrors, EPS, MDF, plaster, paint

Brookhart Jonquil, “Multiplication Portal”, 2022, Plexiglass, water, powdercoated steel, plant cuttings, marine polymer sheet, pump system

Brookhart Jonquil, “Multiplication Portal”, 2022, Plexiglass, water, powdercoated steel, plant cuttings, marine polymer sheet, pump system

Brookhart Jonquil, “Multiplication Portal”, 2022, Plexiglass, water, powdercoated steel, plant cuttings, marine polymer sheet, pump system

Brookhart Jonquil, “Multiplication Portal”, 2022 (detail)

For The Nature of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, work from the exhibition is spread throughout different sections of the museum. In the Great Hall and Sculpture Garden are installations by Brookhart Jonquil.

From the museum about these works-

In this group of installations, Brookhart Jonquil creates art that engages physics, architecture, and ecology to explore the immaterial, shifting aspects of the natural world. His work reflects influences ranging from Minimalism to theories of utopia and perfection; it offers viewers new ways of seeing and a nuanced understanding of our place in the world. The works exhibited here and in the Sculpture Garden encompass over a decade of his career, illustrating how nature has always influenced his artistic practice.

Groundless is Jonquil’s most recent work, inspired by painting en plein air, the Impressionist practice of working outdoors. However, the artist has complicated this by incorporating mirrored surfaces that deny full control of his compositions. Jonquil notes, “Each stroke of paint multiplies unpredictably as I place it, while shifting colors and cloud-forms evade fixity.”

The floor-based sculpture E)A)R)T)H) uses five pieces of mirror glass to dissect an earthly sphere. Unlike Groundless, these mirrors reflect the Great Hall, foyer, and surrounding galleries, suggesting a macro-and micro-viewing of our planet. To further a sense of dislocation, Jonquil has inverted the colors typically associated with land and water: bodies of water are depicted in white, while land is blue.

Multiplication Portal-on view in the Sculpture Garden- is a participatory sculpture highlighting the care and responsibility involved in cultivating plants. Reminiscent of both a kaleidoscope and a beehive, it was inspired by chaos theory-also known as the butterfly effect, which is the idea that one tiny gesture can have colossal consequences within dynamic systems. Brookhart created Multiplication to fight environmental disillusionment. Can one individual impact the impending climate disaster? What is the point of separating paper and plastic? Does turning off the lights make a difference? Multiplication Portal serves as a reminder that our seemingly small actions have the potential for significant consequences.

In an upstairs gallery is the video installation, Blood, Sea by Janaina Tschäpe (seen below). The dreamy video takes you underwater to explore transformation through sea maiden myths.

Information on the installation from the museum-

Reminiscent of Voltaire’s Micromégas, Janaina Tschäpe’s fantastical scenes dissolve boundaries, seamlessly intertwining in an ever-flowing continuum of evolution and transformation in a grand opera that delves into themes of change, gender, and the construction of myth and history. The universe created by Tschäpe beckons one into a parallel world of ambiguous scale-indeterminate in both time and space. The spring-fed grotto provides the scenographic impetus for this grand production, a captivating fusion of a theme park nestled within a state park and bearing the distinction as one of Florida’s oldest roadside attractions. The sea maiden mythologies that inform Blood, Sea link endless stories from across time and space, as many cultures have some version of a water goddess. Millennia of previously unknown deep-sea creatures caught in fishermen’s nets spawned the mythic narratives that gave rise to these goddess/creature tales. From the Mami Wata spirits of West Africa to the water sprites of Irish lore, the trope of the sea maiden appears around the world and across time. Tschäpe’s primary connection is her namesake, the Orixa lemanja of Candomblé. This powerful water spirit is the Brazilian version of the many syncretic gestures born of the Yoruban Afro-Atlantic diaspora. But lemanja is merely one character in the global pantheon of the water goddess.

The split-tail mermaid motifs that adorn the exterior walls of centuries-old homes in the landlocked Swiss Alps are a testament to the enduring allure of the fish woman’s imagery. The split-tail represents the hybrid presence of both home and away, the perpetual dual identity of the émigré, and a curious cipher of Tschäpe’s experience living between the culturally antipodean points of Germany and Brazil. This existence places her between logic and magic, between Protestant rationalism and the mystical worldview of Candomblé, between the grey angst of northern Romanticism and the sensual elegance of the southern hemisphere. This ever-changing identity is evidenced clearly in Blood, Sea, where the video’s perspective perpetually shifts. At certain moments, the viewer finds themselves aboard a ship, assuming the role of a scientist discovering a previously unknown life form. In other instances, we have the privilege of swirling amidst the creatures, becoming one with them.

This exhibition closes on 4/14/24.

Apr 122024
 

Sarah Meyohas, “Interference #19”, 2023, Holograms, mirrored black glass, aluminum

Georgia O’Keeffe, “Poppy”, 1927, Oil on canvas

Francis Picabia “The Church of Montigny, Effect of Sunlight” 1908, Oil on canvas (left); Christian Sampson “Projection Painting”, 2023, Acrylic and films with LED light; and Claude Monet “The Houses of Parliament, Effect of Fog, London” 1904, Oil on canvas (right)

The Nature of Art exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg merges art from the museum’s collection with loaned works to explore- “art’s crucial role in our evolving quest to understand our relationship with nature and our place in the cosmos”.

One of the benefits of an encyclopedic museum is that visitors have the opportunity to experience art throughout history, and to revisit works that resonate with them. For the section titled Artist as Curator, Sarah Meyohas and Christian Sampson chose pieces from the museum’s collection to pair with their own work.

From the museum-

At first glance, perhaps, these may seem like unusual combinations, but upon deeper contemplation, their selections reveal complementary artistic intents. For instance, Meyohas and Georgia O’Keeffe share an interest in close looking, particularly in finding new ways to examine underappreciated aspects of the natural world. Sampson, influenced by the California Light and Space Movement, is interested in current scholarship that suggests the hazy fog found in Claude Monet’s work is an early depiction of air pollution, offering an entirely new perspective on the artist’s representations of light.

Sampson also created the four-part installation, Tempus volat, hora fugit, on view until 2025 at the museum.

Below are some of the works from additional sections of the exhibition.

Postcommodity, “kinaypikowiyâs”, 2021, Four 30.5-metre industrial debris booms

Postcommodity, “kinaypikowiyâs”, 2021, Four 30.5-metre industrial debris booms

Postcommodity is an interdisciplinary art collective comprised of Cristóbal Martínez (Genizaro, Manito, Xicano), and Kade L. Twist (Cherokee).

About Postcommodity’s work, kinaypikowiyâs, (seen above) from the museum-

This work is composed of debris booms, used to catch and hold environmental contaminants such as garbage, oil, and chemicals. The colors of the booms correspond to different types of threats— red (flammable), yellow (radioactive), blue (dangerous), and white (poisonous)-in the labeling system for hazardous materials. To indigenous peoples, these are shared medicine colors that carry knowledge, purpose and meaning throughout the Western Hemisphere. Suspended like hung meat, the booms represent a snake that has been chopped into four parts. Each part represents an area of the colonial map of the Western Hemisphere: South America, Central America, North America, and all of the surrounding islands. The title, kinaypikowiyâs, is a Plains Cree word, meaning snake meat. Divided by borders, Postcommodity asserts that all people living in the Americas are riding on the back of this snake.

James Casebere, “Red/Orange Solo Pavilion”, and “Orange Guesthouse”, 2018, Archival pigment print mounted to Dibond

James Casebere, “Landscape with Houses (Dutchess County, NY), 2009, Archival pigment print mounted to Dibond

James Casebere creates architecturally based models for the large scale photographs seen above.

Reclaimed ocean plastic sculptures and “Tidal Fool” wallpaper by Duke Riley

Duke Riley custom wallpaper, Tidal Fool, detail

Duke Riley custom wallpaper, Tidal Fool, detail

Duke Riley’s work, which was previously shown at Brooklyn Museum, addresses issues of environmental pollution by using discarded plastics found in the ocean and other waterways to create new work inspired by the past. You can hear him discuss his work in this video.

From the museum-

Inspired by the maritime museum displays he saw while a child growing up in New England, Riley’s scrimshaw series is a cutting observation of capitalist economies-historic and today-that endanger sea life. The sculptures were created for the fictional Poly S. Tyrene Memorial Maritime Museum, and are contemporary versions of sailors’ scrimshaw, or delicately ink-etched whale teeth and bone. Riley first thought about using plastic as an ode to scrimshaw when he saw what he thought was a whale bone washed up on the beach in Rhode Island; it turned out to be the white handle of a deck brush. Riley regularly removes trash from beaches and waterways, and often uses this refuse in his work.

Riley collaborated with Brooklyn-based Flavor Paper to create these two custom wallpapers for his solo exhibition DEATH TO THE LIVING, Long Live Trash at the Brooklyn Museum. Tidal Fool exhibits Riley’s trademark humor in the face of devastating water pollution; notice the Colt 45-guzzling mermaid. Wall Bait vibrantly references Riley’s meticulous fishing lures, which he crafts from refuse found in the waters around New York City.

Daniel Lind-Ramos,”Centinelas de la luna nueva (Sentinels of the New Moon)”, 2022-2023, Mixed media

Daniel Lind-Ramos,”Centinelas de la luna nueva (Sentinels of the New Moon)”, 2022-2023, Mixed media

Daniel Lind-Ramos also uses a variety of recycled objects to create his sculptures.

From the museum about this work-

In Centinelas de la luna nueva, he evokes the elders of the mangroves, spiritual beings who watch over and ensure the health of this essential coastal tree. Mangroves are the basis for a complex ecosystem that shelters sea life and serves as the first line of defense in the tropical storms that batter the sub-tropics—including Florida.

Lind-Ramos’s practice reflects the vibrant culture of his native Loíza, Puerto Rico, by honoring local agriculture, fishing, cooking, and masquerade. His sculptures also evoke Hurricane Maria (2017), the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing environmental degradation. Lind-Ramos is committed to the survival and sustenance of Afro-Taíno traditions and people of the Puerto Rican archipelago. However, his art engages the global community through shared emotions, parallel histories, and the commonality of human experience.

The next post will discuss two other artists in the exhibition, Brookhart Jonquil and Janaina Tschäpe.

Mar 222024
 

Pictured is Jacob Hashimoto’s This Particle of Dust, on view at Tampa Museum of Art through 2025.  At first glance, it may seem monochromatic, but on closer inspection the blue color and star patterns begin to emerge on the darker pieces. It also changes depending on the viewer’s vantage point and the changing natural light.

From the museum about the work-

The artist takes inspiration from cloud formations and the cosmos, with each navy blue kite featuring star-like markings. Depending on the time of day and the natural light filtering through the atrium skylights, the kites will shift in color intensity. This Particle of Dust explores the visual poetics of light and dark, color and form, as well as space and architecture.

Created from over 2,500 handmade kites, This Particle of Dust is a site-specific installation and unique to the Tampa Museum of Art’s architecture. The installation represents Jacob Hashimoto’s exploration of abstract landscape and his interest in blurring the boundaries between painting and sculpture. This Particle of Dust evokes the experience of observing the night sky through various cloud clusters. Thousands of transparent and opaque white discs hang suspended from a bespoke armature. Navy blue kites, imprinted with white and cerulean blue star patterns, hang amidst the cloud shapes and catch the light as the sun rises over the Museum and dips into the horizon over the Hillsborough River. Depending on one’s vantage point, either from the lobby, stairwell, or galleries, the experience of This Particle of Dust shifts—from below the cloudscape appears to drift into the sky while at eye-level the viewer looks directly into the stars.

Hashimoto began making kite sculptures twenty-years ago while an art student in Chicago. Inspired by traditional Chinese kite making in the city of Weifang, where the artform of sculptural dragon kites originated, Hashimoto has made hundreds of thousands of kites from Japanese paper and resin. He appreciates kites as a universal object of joy that is recognized across the globe. Transformed into monumental artworks, Hashimoto’s kites convey happiness, wonder, and serenity.

Below is Tampa Museum of Art’s video of the artist discussing this installation.

Hashimoto is also showing several wall-mounted sculptural works for his solo exhibition, Fables, at Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago. It will be on view until 4/20/24.

Jan 022024
 

Frank Weston Benson, “Natalie”, 1917, Oil on canvas

Childe Hassam, “Gathering Flowers in a French Garden”, 1888, Oil on canvas

Luther Emerson Van Gorder, “In the Park”, before 1894, Oil on canvas

Tampa Museum of Art’s current exhibition, Frontiers of Impressionism: Paintings from the Worcester Art Museum, features paintings by American and European impressionists and is a lovely reminder of the extraordinary works these artists created during this time period. The enduring popularity of the impressionists throughout the years makes sense when walking among these paintings. The use of color and brush work, as well as the details and beauty of the subject matter (not to mention the wealth and comfort often depicted)- make the viewer feel like they are being transported through time to the artist’s idyllic world.

From the museum-

In 2024, the term “impressionism” celebrates its 150th anniversary. Such a significant occasion inspires reflection on the profound impact that a relatively small group of artists in Paris made by positing a new mode of painting: one that favored painting outdoors over in a studio, immediacy over planning, the everyday over the grand, and the fleeting over the eternal. In doing so, the impressionists upended centuries of traditions in European art. This exhibition explores the radical impulses behind impressionism and its seemingly endless adaptability, as artists from around the world came to Paris to study and returned to their homelands, assimilating what they had absorbed and propelling the movement further.

The Worcester Art Museum pioneered new artistic horizons by embracing impressionism early in its history. The French and American impressionism collections at the Worcester Art Museum have long drawn visitors to the galleries. The first directors purchased works by Monet from his Parisian dealer, Durand-Ruel, as well as directly from American impressionists, making the Museum one of the first in the United States to collect impressionism actively as contemporary art. Over the past 125 years, this collection has grown, encapsulating the story of the movement’s roots and emergence in France and its subsequent expansion to the United States, Germany, Scandinavia, and beyond. Highlighting more than 30 artists, including Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, and Max Slevogt, this exhibition demonstrates impressionism’s international allure, captured in subjects as far-flung as Monet’s famed Giverny lily pond to the natural wonders of the Grand Canyon.

Below are a few more selections from the show.

Max Slevogt, “Selbstbildnis im Garten (A Self-Portrait in the Garden at Godgramstein), 1910, Oil on canvas

Max Slevogt, “Selbstbildnis im Garten (A Self-Portrait in the Garden at Godgramstein), 1910, Oil on canvas (detail)

Paul Signac, “Golfe Juan”, 1896, Oil on canvas

Thomas Cole, “View on the Arno, near Florence”, 1837, Oil on canvas

Lovis Corinth, “Vordem Spiegel (At the Mirror)”, 1912, Oil on canvas

John Singer Sargent, “Katherine Chase Pratt”, 1890, Oil on canvas

About the unfinished painting above (from the museum)-

A successful society portraitist, Sargent painted the elite from his international social circles. In June 1890, Sargent visited Worcester, Massachusetts, where he was inundated by requests for portraits. The sitter’s father, Frederick Pratt, a noted collector and eventual acting director of the Worcester Art Museum (1908 and 1917), became friends with the artist and invited him to return a few months later to paint his daughter, Katherine- although the idea for Katherine’s portrait originated in Sargent’s first trip to Worcester, when he had made a sketch of hydrangeas. Sargent’s vision of Katherine against a backdrop of flowers, however, proved less than satisfactory for his client and he abandoned the painting for another, more formal depiction. As an unfinished work, this painting reveals the immediacy of Sargent’s process, with careful attention to broad swaths of color and patterns in the brushwork to convey flower petals or folds of clothing.

This exhibition will be on view until 1/7/2024.

Dec 292023
 

This year The James Museum partnered with SHINE Mural Festival and Chenlin Cai to create the mural seen above, The Path We Came. It was inspired by the museum’s current exhibition From Far East to West: The Chinese American Frontier.

Dec 292023
 

Hung Liu “Portrait of China Mary”, 2006, Oil on canvas

Currently at The James Museum in St. Pete, is From Far East to West: The Chinese American Frontier, an informative show that includes many beautiful paintings. There’s so much history in America that often doesn’t get taught in school. This is a great opportunity to learn about this immigration story through artwork as well as text.

From the museum about the exhibition-

While European American settlers gradually pushed the United States frontier westward throughout the 1800s, the West coast of the country was developing independently as well. Accelerated by the discovery of gold mid-century, the population boom included Chinese immigrants who crossed the Pacific Ocean to California.

Most 19th century Chinese immigrants came to their new country from the coastal Canton region (province of Guangdong today) in southeastern China. Starting over on a different continent away from familiar surroundings and culture would be challenging, but for many decades anti-Chinese hostility and exclusion laws made settling in the United States even more difficult. The achievements of Chinese immigrants paved a path for future generations and are a testament to strength and perseverance.

The foundation for the exhibition highlights narratives of Chinese America from the 1850s to the 1930s. The paintings-all created by Chinese Americans in the 21st century-reflect inspiration from this history. The painters are also fueled by their own, more recent immigration stories to the United States after China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and their rigorous art training in the government-sponsored movement of Socialist Realism. After China opened to the rest of the world in the late 1970s, many Chinese artists-like Mian Situ, Jie Wei Zhou, Benjamin Wu, Hung Liu, and Z.S. Liang, all featured here were inspired to immigrate to the United States in search of greater opportunity.

Here, these artists’ historical interpretations speak to culture, identity, community, and resilience. Related objects and ephemera from the period support these stories. From the Gold Rush to Angel Island, this exhibition reveals often overlooked but significant contributions and perspectives of Chinese immigrants that deepen our understanding of U.S. history.

Hung Liu “Dandelion with Small Bird”, 2017 Mixed media

About the above painting from the museum-

Dandelions and their fluffy seed pods can be found anywhere in the world and thrive wherever they land. Their migratory nature allows them to survive a journey across vast lands even across oceans and take root anywhere in the world. For Liu, the dandelion represents her own tenacity and ability to thrive in the face of adversity.

The dandelions, fragile in nature and tattered by the lightest breeze, mimic how images, and personal narratives, too, can be scattered by time and the winds of history —as well as by the rhythms of feast and famine …
Hung Liu

Mian Situ “Blasting a Route Through the Sierra Nevada, 1865, Central Pacific Railroad”, 2018, Oil on canvas

Mian Situ “The Gold Seekers , Chinese Camp, 1850”, 2015, Oil on canvas

Jie Wei Zhou “Dragon Parade”, 2012, Oil on Linen

This exhibition is on view until 1/28/24.

Dec 172023
 

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.

Artists included in the exhibition-

Tatiana Baccari, Elizabeth Barenis, Christina Bertsos, Daniel Barojas, Chomick + Meder, Courtney Clute, Neverne Covington, Sheila Cowley, Patricia Kluwe Derderian, Nikki Devereux, Javier T Dones, Dunedin Music Society, Sara Ries Dziekonski, Sarah Emery, Roxanne Fay, Jean Blackwell Font, John Gascot, Denis Gaston, Mason Gehring, Donald Gialanella, Jim Gigurtsis, Kevin Grass, Sheree L. Greer, Jason Hackenwerth, Steph Hargrove, Patrick Arthur Jackson, Reid Jenkins, Kenny Jensen, Charlotte Johnson, Victoria Jorgensen, Steven Kenny, Candace Knapp, Akiko Kotani, Teresa Mandala, Cora Marshall, Carol Mickett & Robert Stackhouse, Miss Crit, Mark Mitchell, Chad Mize, Desiree Moore, Zoe Papas, Gianna Pergamo, Rose Marie Prins, Gabriel Ramos, Babs Reingold, George Retkes, Heather Rippert, Ashley Rivers, Marlene Rose, Ric Savid, Tom Sivak, Sketzii, Emily Stehle, Rachel Stewart, Erica Sutherlin, Takeya Trayer, Judy Vienneau, Kirk Ke Wang, Angela Warren, and Joseph Weinzettle

The show is on view until 12/31/23.

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

 

 

Dec 122023
 


Heiress Gallery in St. Pete is currently showing Melissa Spitz’s solo show You Have Nothing to Worry About, a moving portrait of her mother’s mental illness and substance abuse.

From the gallery about the exhibition-

In her solo exhibition at HEIRESS, Spitz presents medium-to large-format prints of her iconic images. The works are installed in a chaotic environment, scattered amongst the detritus of familial tragedy: her mother is found in the context of hundreds of pills and pill bottles, a glimpse into the chaos that Spitz and her family have dealt with for many years. Thousands of 4×6 glossy photos are scattered on a table in the center of the space and invites gallery visitors to attempt to make sense of the nostalgia that they hold. In addition to photographs, Spitz has included new sculptural works including ten enameled hammers titled, You Are the Nail, which encourages an examination of the over-reliance of pharmaceutical solutions in the United States. Spitz’s work freezes moments of chaos in time, to be dissected and understood by the artist after the fact. The majority of her most intimate traumatic life experiences are captured through her lens, and finds a second life in the digital sphere on Instagram, to a community of over 50 thousand followers, which blurs the lines between catharsis and entertainment.

From the artist about the exhibition-

Since 2009, I have been making photographs of my mentally ill, substance-abusing mother. Her diagnoses change frequently-from alcoholism to dissociative identity disorder–and my relationship with her has been fraught with animosity for as long as I can remember. I am fully aware that my mother thrives on being the center of attention and that, at times, our portrait sessions encouraged her erratic behavior.

The photographs are simultaneously upsetting and encouraging; honest and theatrical; loving and hateful. By turning the camera toward my mother and my relationship with her, I capture her behavior as an echo of my own emotional response. The images function like an on going conversation.

The series in installation form encourages an examination of the role prescription drugs play in the United States. Aiming to prompt discussions on the cultural, social, and individual implications of an overreliance on pharmaceutical solutions. Through visual metaphors and imagery, You Have Nothing to Worry about continues to raise awareness about the need for a balanced and holistic approach to health and well-being. While acknowledging the limitations and potential pitfalls of relying solely on prescription medications.

The immersive exhibition functions as a thought-provoking commentary on the pervasive and complex issue of prescription drug culture in America. Through the meticulous arrangement of pill bottles, pills, photographs, and family ephemera, I seek to engage viewers in a dialogue about the consequences of our society’s reliance on pharmaceutical drugs.

The Vanity, pictured above, which includes family notes and photos, adds even more depth to the family’s struggles.

From the artist-

I have always been interested in sculptural installations and photography. Sandy Skoglund, Jeff Wall and Carrie Mae Weems are a few big names who have directly inspired me. The obsessive nature of details and experience only add to telling a story and I’ve been eager to find a way to participate. This vanity belonged to my great-aunt Sophie and has been in my bedroom my whole life, it went to college and graduate school with me, and my brother has been storing it since I moved to New York. This exhibition presented the perfect opportunity to utilize it. Informed by actual experiences, The Vanity, showcases family ephemera, letters from my mom, pill bottles, scattered pills, lipsticks and flickering candles. The mirror allows viewers to reflect on their own shared familiarity.

Spitz also created You Are The Nail, pictured below, for the exhibition.

Her description of the work-

I’m not sure when I first heard the phrase “when your only tool is a hammer, you begin to see everything as a nail” but it was used regarding my mom being over medicated and her prescriptions mixing, sending her into another psychotic episode. It wasn’t the doctors’ fault, or mom’s or the pharmacist but the drugs, they were to blame. I was frustrated and angry and confused, but too young to understand that doctors received kickbacks for writing certain prescriptions and that patients like my mom were a goldmine. I do want to be clear that I know anti-psychotic medications have saved people’s lives and mom would not be able to function normally without a carefully balanced mix of mood stabilizers, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills. But all too quickly do I find doctors in almost any capacity pushing drugs on me…I was alarmed to learn that the United States pharmaceutical industry generates over 110 bilion dollars of revenue each year.

You are the Nail is a series of ten hammers representing the ten most prescribed anti-psychotic / antidepressant pharmaceutical drugs in the United States. Several of which my mom is prescribed. Informed by Abraham Maslow’s theory of over reliance, you are the nail visually depicts our mental health field’s greatest tool, prescription drugs. The hammers are titled, Zoloft, Lexapro, Trazadone, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, Seroquel, Celexa, Vensir and Abilify.

This exhibition closes 1/13/24.

Dec 122023
 

Artists from L to R: Julie Schumer, Vivien Collens (sculpture), Maggie Kruger, and Blair Vaughn-Gruler

Renee Mendler, “Rainbow Vision I and II”, Acrylic, Gold leaf, and resin on panel (left) and “Pure Joy No. 10 and No. 14”, Acrylic on canvas by Hans Petersen

Imani Bilál, “If Dreams Could Wander”, Acylic paint and ink on canvas (left) and work from the “Accumulation” series by Blair Vaughn-Gruler, Oil, mixed media, wood, on canvas

Michelle Gordon, “Ocean Splash”, Oil on canvas

This past weekend was the Second Saturday ArtWalk in St. Pete, Florida with numerous galleries staying open into the evening. Above are images from the recently opened Drew Marc Gallery, part of The Factory St. Pete’s complex in the Warehouse District. In addition to the artwork, the gallery also had live painting by Michelle Gordon.

At Morean Center for Clay is Lauren Hope: Time (pictured below), a solo exhibition that includes the artist’s ceramic work and photography.

From the gallery-

...Time is an investigation of alternative photographic process, using clay as a catalyst for record keeping. Using ceramic vessels as pin hole cameras, Lauren captures moments in time and transfers them onto ceramic surfaces. This exhibition will be a collection of photographic prints, vessels, cyanotypes, and handmade pinhole cameras. 

 Her statement about her work-

My work is heavily influenced by the complexity of hues, forms, and patterns found in the natural world. This studio practice has become deeply cathartic, signifying the ephemeral and fleeting notions of time.

Ceramic vessels within this collection are wheel-thrown, altered, and sculpted. Every striation carved serves as a visual representation and a gentle reminder of the delicate passing moment. This method of subtractive carving has become transformative, developing into deep states of meditation and reflection.

Experimental photography is used as an explorative process, allowing for the convergence of internal and external experiences. By casting memories and photographic recollections onto stoneware, I attempt to immortalize my profound experiences and revelations.

This exhibition will be on view until 12/30.

For selections from additional galleries, head to the next page.