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.
Hobby House– where art meets self-indulgence, subversion meets humor, and creativity meets absurdity. With ceramics, sterling silver, a little photography and a lot of gemstones Hobby House presents objects that are meticulously crafted for no good reason other than looking fabulous. Hobby House contemplates the places and practices of art making with humor, irony, and a little wit.
Jenn Ryann Miller explores materiality and aesthetics through sculpture and painting. With a background in functional ceramics, her work subverts tradition and process through the experimentation with oblique materials and forms. Miller has been part of numerous solo and group exhibitions in Florida and the United States. Originally from Connecticut, she received a BFA from the University of Connecticut and MA from the University of South Florida. Miller currently teaches ceramics at the University of South Florida.
In another of the Tempus Projects gallery spaces is Justin Myers‘ exhibition, What Did We Use To Say, seen below, which uses collage along with a video and sound installation to explore the concept of memory.
From the gallery and artist-
What Did We Use To Say? Trying to remember things from the past from distorted and fragmented memories. Is that really how it happened? With intention, the mind has the ability to erase just as easily as it does create. The mind decides what stays and what gets purged for the new. Are you in control? Or is the subconscious doing as it pleases? In this work, I explore deconstruction, recomposition, and sampling, and their impact on memory and perception.
Justin studied printmaking at HCC in Ybor City and began experimenting with sculpture and installation-based works during his time there. Myers finds inspiration from discarded imagery, random thought, and spontaneous actions. Over the last 10 years, Myers has participated in numerous exhibitions at Tempus Projects, including the T-shirt shows, Mix Tape Show, Return to Sender, and an offsite window installation as part of a partnership with Downtown Tampa and more. In 2020, Myers partnered with his brother, Jeremy Myers on a virtual exhibit with Tempus Projects titled, “One Day of Perfect”. Justin has been involved with Tempus Projects since his music project Alien House made its debut performance in November of 2011.
Both of these exhibitions are on view until 12/14/23.
Photographs from the International Photography Competition
Continuing from the previous post about the Ybor Arts Tour, there are three venues that were part of the tour that are also worth highlighting.
The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA) is showing some impressive photography in their new Ybor City space. On one side of the museum is Icons of Black and White, a selection of over 60 fine art photographs, by some of the most famous photographers in history including Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston and more. This show will be on view until 12/3/23.
Kaitlin Crockett of Print St. Pete, “Why?” letterpress monoprint (left) and Chris Sellen/ Kaitlin Crockett, “It’s Only A Matter of Time”, risograph print
Mia Makes It, “[redacted]”, risograph print, and “Molecular Anxiety”, linocut on fabric
The Bricks is a restaurant in Ybor City that also has an event space. For the Arts Tour the space turned into a gallery for Print Mode (2) a selection of work by Tampa Bay printmakers. That show will be up for a few more weeks.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Above are images from Olimpia Zagnoli’s 2018 exhibition Cuore di Panna at HVW8 Gallery in Los Angeles. She is currently showing her work, along with her talented family at Antonio Colombo Gallery in Milan, Italy. That exhibition, ZaLiZaZa. Inventario di famiglia will be on view until 11/19/23.
The press release from the gallery-
Galleria Antonio Colombo is pleased to present the exhibition ZaLiZaZa. Inventario di famiglia, curated by Francesca Pellicciari, featuring a group of artists belonging to the same family: the photographer Miro Zagnoli (Za), the artist Emi Ligabue (Li) and their two daughters: the illustrator Olimpia Zagnoli (Za), already connected with the gallery, and the costume designer Emilia Zagnoli (Za).
The members of ZaLiZaZa are a very modern family, but also one of days gone by: were they not engaged in making their own various artifacts, we could imagine them operating in a family workshop in the Renaissance or Baroque spirit, experimenting with new painting techniques, revolutionizing styles or using them as examples to make their own; creating majestic theatrical wings, garbed in their style which is simultaneously classic and eccentric.
After all, this image is not so far from what ZaLiZaZa are doing today, in the 21st century, each in his or her own field – contiguous and often overlapping ambits – constantly coming to grips with their own research and experimentation, relying on a shared language, a true family lexicon.
The exhibition pathway is an inventory of works of all kinds – drawings and photographs, wooden books, collages, object/sculptures, fabrics, screens and magic boxes – in an intense dialogue of correspondences, where the four voices alternate and take turns, without a chronological order; a dialogue accompanied by a selection of items (sketches, notes, postcards, family photos) that document a methodology, while at the same time emphasizing the constant presence of art in the private life of ZaLiZaZa.
Thus it is no coincidence that many subjects are similar in the work of ZaLiZaZa.
While for decades design has pervaded the still analog settings and photographs of Miro (Za), it is also a recurring theme in the works of Emi (Li), from the Cicognino of Albini to the life and work of Charlotte Perriand, or anonymous design found for sale online: “I have no taboos, no type of respect or norm.” Similar use of anonymous and unconventional materials is found in the “Souvenir” clothing series by Emilia (Za), made from touristy dishtowels with the map of Italy, just as certain archetypes return in the thousands of stripes traced by Olimpia (Za), always in pursuit of the perfect synthesis between the idea and its representation.
Beyond this, beyond design, mountains, figures, bodies, portraits, chiaroscuro effects, balconies, there is the continuing echo – in the various generations of ZaLiZaZa of what Matisse said one day to Picasso, as Emi (Li) reminds us: “In the end, Picasso, we don’t have to try to be so smart. You and I are alike: what we try to rediscover in art is the atmosphere of our First Communion.” To always observe the world with the eyes of children, with the gaze of ZaLiZaZa.
If Olimpia Zagnoli’s work looks familiar, she also designed The New Yorker’s August 28th issue, seen below.
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.
“Bryson Funmaker”, 2020, Inkjet print and beadwork
The Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg is currently showing an impressive collection of work from photographer Tom Jones. The photos, in multiple series, focus on Native American identity, history, cultural appropriation, and the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin, of which Jones is a member. The work engages visually while also being informative.
From the museum’s press release for Tom Jones: Here We Stand–
For over twenty years, Tom Jones has created a visual record and exploration of his Ho-Chunk community. Born in North Carolina and raised in Orlando after a short stint in Minneapolis, Jones returned to the Midwest, moving to Wisconsin at age 15. He then made his way to Chicago for graduate school at Columbia College. Jones’s father worked with Kodak and owned a photography lab, helping shape the artist’s understanding of the practical aspects of photography from an early age. During graduate school, Jones began an ongoing photographic essay on the contemporary life of his Ho-Chunk community, beginning first with the elders.
The show comprises over a dozen series, ranging from the documentary to the conceptual. Of his series on Veterans’ memorials at the annual Black River Falls Pow-Wow, Jones says, “I was interested in the way families made very conscious decisions about how they want their loved ones memorialized.” Other series include the emotionally intimate, though larger than life, beaded portraits. “Beading is a metaphor for our ancestors watching over us. I am also referencing an experience I had when I was about 8 or 9 years old. My mother took me to see a Sioux medicine man named Robert Stead. He led the call to the spirits, the women began to sing, and the ancestors appeared as orbs of light. This event inspired the series Strong Unrelenting Spirits.“
Jones’s photographs examine identity and geographic place with an emphasis on the experience of Native American communities. He is interested in how American Indian material culture is portrayed through commodification and popular culture. Much of his work counteracts and corrects decades of misinformation and misrepresentation of American Indians, particularly targeting the field of U.S. history. Jones’s critical assessment of the romanticized representation of Native peoples in photography re-examines historic pictures taken by white photographers. This reassessment questions the assumptions about identity within the American Indian culture by non-natives and natives alike. “While each of Jones’s series is distinctly different, the message remains consistent: the Ho-Chunk are not vanishing or frozen in time,” said Dr. Jane Aspinwall, Senior Curator of Photography. “Jones’s photographs emphasize a solid, generational commitment to family, tribal community, and land. His photographs reclaim appropriated images and set the historical record straight.”
Below are a some selections from a few of the series in the exhibition.
“Trenton and Roger Littlegeorge”, 2011
“Dorothy Crowfeather”, 1999
“Dear America” series
About the Dear America series pictured above-
Using each line from the first two verses of the song, America (“My Country Tis of Thee”) as the title of fourteen of the works in the Dear America series, Jones questions whose history is being propagated here. With dry wit and an unfailing commitment to truth, Jones exposes atrocities like the massive effort by the U.S. government to assimilate Native American children to non-Native culture, the merciless seizing of Native lands, and the mass hanging of thirty-eight Sioux and Ho-Chunk men under President Lincoln in 1862. He also highlights Native American identity in relation to cowboy culture, the thoughtless misappropriation of Native American customs, and the influence of the Iroquois Confederacy on the U. S. Constitution. Jones’s aim is to broaden the “traditional” historical American narrative to be more representative of all people, especially the original inhabitants of this land.
About the Ho-Chunk Veterans Memorials, pictured above-
“I wanted to do this photographic essay to honor our veterans… One in four American Indian males is a United States veteran. Ho-Chunks have fought in every war for the United States except for the War of 1812. The Ho-Chunks did this even though they were not granted the right to vote until 1924, and during the Indian Removal Act, were removed at least seven times from Wisconsin by the United States government. This is the conviction we have as a people… I honor these people who give of themselves freely to protect this land. Traditionally, Ho-Chunks are taught to live their lives for the betterment of others. The veterans have done this.’
From Jones’ “”Native” Commodity” series
About the “Native” Commodity” series-
The Wisconsin Dells, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, is home to spectacular natural scenery and the largest concentration of waterparks. Located on Ho-Chunk ancestral land, the area is now highly commercialized, with much of its identity resting on the appropriation of Native American stereotypical tropes. In this series, Jones documented this unabashed use of Native American symbols, images, and place names in advertising and popular culture. The sale of “Native American” crafts made in China, the liberal use of names of historically important figures like Black Hawk, and the indiscriminate mix of tribal communities into one conglomerate-tipis from the Plains next to totem poles from the Pacific Northwest next to Pueblo pottery. The Dells serve as a microcosm for how images of Native Americans are reproduced and reframed into a collective memory that is often distorted. Jones wryly noted that none of the Native American objects feature anything specifically attributable to the Ho-Chunk Nation.