Mar 092024
 

The mural above, Celestial Tigers, located outside the Oceanic Market building in Tampa, is by Florida artist Michelle Sawyer.

She is currently showing recent paintings at Parachute Gallery, located in the Kress Contemporary building in Ybor City.

Also check out her Instagram for recent work.

Jan 292024
 

Whimzeyland, the “Bowling Ball House”, is a local landmark located in Safety Harbor, Florida, created by artists Todd Ramquist and Kiaralinda.

About the house from their website

In 1985, they purchased the beige house on Third Street in Safety Harbor, Florida. They traveled everywhere, actively seeking out inspirational and unusual places. Inspired by these travels, they began transforming their house. One of the earliest additions were the wooden triangles to the eaves of their house. The beige house became bold in color, too.

One day, they went to a flea market and saw a sign that said that anybody could take 10 free bowling balls. They took the bowling balls and began painting and placing them around the property. This is how they became known as the bowling ball house of Safety Harbor.

Todd and Kiaralinda even branched out of decorating their home, creating two different art cars, designed a restaurant, and making public sculptures, among other things. They began calling themselves the Whimzey Twinz because they work together on all of their projects.

Their travels soon included visits to folk artists and artists that they met at their shows. These friends visited them, too. Todd and Kiaralinda’s bowling balls inspired many of them. They would create bowling balls for Todd and Kiaralinda, who got so many of these works from artist friends that they started a gallery in their home. They created a “Call for Balls” which made a lot more of these art works roll into their home. Today, they have over 80 bowling balls from various artists around the world and people still bring them bowling balls as gifts.

If you are in the area, make sure to also stop by Safety Harbor Art and Music Center (SHAMc), a nonprofit they opened in 2017. It has an art gallery and shop, and hosts music events and art classes as well.

 

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.

Dec 082023
 

“Eulogy for Twilight: Ad Memoriam”, 2023, Oil on canvas

“Golden Pond”, 2023, Oil on canvas

“A Stream for Fiver”, 2023, Oil on canvas

Morean Arts Center in St. Pete is currently showing Remember When, a selection of dramatic and beautiful work by Tampa based artist Alex Espalter-Torres.

From the artist about the work-

“Unlike conventional landscapes that attempt to capture an exact image, my artwork has always been my personal narrative; an amalgam of places, tragedies and triumphs, fears and hopes, and dreams of the unknown. The one constant in my vision is the impact of the sea and sky on this earth, both experienced and imagined.

I have always worked in layers; nothing is whole or complete on the surface. There are experiences running beneath my images, much like currents in a river or riptides in the sea. The composition is often torn and dripping, showing droplets of the past and visions of the future.

My works have evolved over the years to remove myself as the sole narrator. You, the viewer, are invited to interpret each image and insert your layers and reactions as a reflection of yourself.”

This exhibition closes 12/30/23.

Nov 282023
 

Lisa McCarthy “Joy Ride”, 2023, mixed media on paper (left) and Georgia Vahue, “Peacock”, 2023, mixed media

(clockwise from upper left) Georgia Vahue “Isn’t it Romantic”, 2022-3 mixed media; Lisa McCarthy “Awkward Attachment”, 2023, mixed media on canvas; Georgia Vahue “Time to Finish My Hand”, 2023, mixed media; Lisa McCarthy “Shot Gun”, 2023, mixed media on paper

Lisa McCarthy “All the books I bought and never read”, 2023, mixed media on paper (left) and Georgia Vahue “Turquoise”, 2023, mixed media and “Las Vegas”, 2023, mixed media

Clockwise from left- Georgia Vahue’s mixed media works- “Felicitations” 2023, “Travel Log”, 2023 and “Robert Browning”, 2023

Currently on view at HCCFL’s Gallery 221, located on their Dale Mabry campus, is Leftovers- assemblages by Georgia Vahue and mixed media paintings by Lisa McCarthy.

From the artists about the exhibition-

Things that are “left over” in our lives speak to our priorities. Regardless of their composition, the fact that something remains after a time can elicit strong reactions of nostalgia or urgency. Whether they are collectibles, old books, identities, leftover meals, or simple mementos, these things can be prized just as easily as they can be neglected. Even though tastes and perceptions change over time, we find ourselves drawn to the past for novelties and material to create with something new.

Leftovers are a loaded source, full of possibility and untapped potential. Their hold on us can remain for one second, a minute, an hour, day, or century. As leftover items sit, hide, or are abandoned for whatever reason, they mature into something else. In the context of art, the act of examining these elements closer, again and again, makes the artist aware of qualities one did not see or appreciate beforehand. Only with this careful attention can we help these leftovers transition into the future.

Although very different in medium, the works play off each other well, creating interesting conversations between the pieces. McCarthy has even created drawings on the pedestals based on objects and elements from Vahue’s work.

The closing reception for the exhibition on Thursday (11/30/23) will include an artist talk beginning at 6pm.

Below are additional paintings by McCarthy including the incredibly detailed wall length mural.

Lisa McCarthy “Enter Here”, 2022, mixed media on mylar

Lisa McCarthy “Enter Here”, 2022, mixed media on mylar (detail)

Lisa McCarthy, “Bon Marché”, 2023, mixed media on paper

Lisa McCarthy “Passers by the window”, 2023, oil and acrylic on canvas

Nov 222023
 

Denis Gaston, “The Pollinator”, acrylic on canvas

Paintings by Denis Gaston and Sculptures by Eric Doctors

ARTicles/ Leslie Curran Gallery’s space in St. Pete is currently showing Robbie Acts Up, an exhibition of bright and colorful work by Denis Gaston and Eric Doctors.

Along with their rotating exhibitions, the gallery shows a wide variety of local artists and offers a wide range of services including custom framing.

Nov 142023
 

This past weekend was Studio Waltz, an annual artist studio tour that takes place around Dunedin and Palm Harbor. One of the stops was The Mosaic House of Dunedin.

Carol Sackman and Blake White’s magical home has so much going on you almost don’t know where to look first. The couple teach classes from November thru April and can be contacted for tours of their home.

The Mosaic House was also featured in a gallery exhibition at the Dunedin Fine Art Center last year.

Spotted while at their home was a mural, pictured below, by former local artist Jennifer Kosharek, pictured below. She recently relocated to Alaska.

 

Nov 142023
 

One of the two Creative Liberties spaces in the Limelight District

On the second Saturday of every month artists from the Sarasota Studio Artists Association open their studios around Sarasota, Florida. One place to stop is the Limelight District where you can find Creative Liberties, Palmer Modern, and The Bazaar.

Founded by artists Barbara Gerdeman and Elizabeth Goodwill, Creative Liberties opened its first location at the end of 2021 and the second in February of this year. Along with the artist studios, the space hosts exhibitions and classes for children and adults.

The exhibition space and tables from a finished class from September 2023

If you go make sure to also check out the delightful Free Little Art Gallery. Created by artist Judy Robertson and modeled after the Free Little Libraries, you are encouraged to take a piece of art, leave a piece of art, or sometimes just admire what’s been donated. There is one for work by adults and for children’s art work.

Below are images from a few of the artist’s spaces in the Creative Liberties buildings.

Paintings by Lisa DiFranza

Paintings by Adrienne Watts

Paintings by David Sigel

Photography by Henry Martin

Work by Sandra Wix

Paintings by Cheryl Taub

Paintings by Ava Young

Work by Creative Liberties founder Barbara Gerdeman

Work by artists Traci Kegerreis and Sandy Koolkin

On the next page- Palmer Modern and The Bazaar

Oct 282023
 

Installation by Edgar Sanchez Cumbas

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.

The above images are of sculptural work by Edgar Sanchez Cumbas (he was also in the Department of Contemporary Art group show in the same building). It is just one of the rotating works you can find while walking around the space.

Below are some selections from the event.

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.

Work by Jon Pannier

Sculpture by Eileen Goldenberg

Polaroid work by Brian Pannier

Lots of great work by the three very different artists that make up the Y3K Collective- Jon Pannier, Eileen Goldenberg, and Brian Pannier, seen above.

Work by Juan Espinosa (left) and Ashley Cantero (right) of Dluance

Inside Dluance

Creative space Dluance is run by visual artist Ashley Cantero and music producer/ graphic designer Juan Espinosa.

Paintings by Marilyn Binder Silverman

Paintings by Eilzabeth Fontaine-Barr

The work above is from the painters Marilyn Binder Silverman and Elizabeth Fontaine-Barr who share their studio space.

Painting by Karol Batansky

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.

Work by Jenal Dolson (left) and Michael Jones (collage, right)

The next post will focus on three spaces outside of Kress Contemporary that were also part of the tour.

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.