Swept Away & ORIGINS: A Docent Tour at Sarasota Museum of Art

Last Sunday I finally got the chance to venture to SMOA to experience two very fleeting exhibits, through an even smaller window of opportunity: a docent led tour of Lisa Hoke’s  “Swept Away”, and ‘ORIGINS’, a collaboration between Sweet Sparkman Architects and the Ringling College of Art & Design.

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Since I arrived early I decided to wander through Patrick Doughetry’s  Installation “Out In Front”, created for SMOA in 2013. Being the nitpicky artist I am, and that many of us tend to be, I was simultaneously enjoying my experience while also envisioning how I would have done it differently — a little bit more Richard Serra and Robert Smithson, and a little bit less Andy Goldsworthy and Tim Burton. Although, I have a feeling many’a visitor would completely disagree with me, and that’s the beauty of it.

These community engaging endeavors are being provided by the Sarasota Museum of Art in an ongoing effort to raise funds for what will be Sarasota’s first modern and contemporary art museum. I, for one, am really appreciative of these efforts as I feel  substantial impacts are already being felt within the community. Once SMOA meets its funding goal (they only have 13% left to complete the goal), the process of remodeling historic Sarasota High School into a highly anticipated museum will begin.

After wandering through “Out In Front”, and taking plenty of pictures, The museum doors were open and guests were greeted for the tour. After the docent introduced herself and talked about SMOA and it’s mission — including providing studio spaces for Ringling students on the first floor, and a gallery space on the second floor where viewers can look down through the floors to see what the students are working on — she led us through a conference room to get to an old classroom turned Lisa Hoke’s installation space, consisting of collaged recycled materials that envelop the whole space with explosive shapes organized by color. The materials used to create “Swept Away” were donated by members of the community — interestingly enough, much of the packaging was either candy or liquor (Sarasotans clearly know what the good life is all about!). IMG_5767

IMG_5771IMG_5775IMG_5776IMG_5777After we walked through the space and questions were addressed, we headed to the next exhibit: ‘ORIGINS’. Our docent explained that Sweet Sparkman Architects was contacted by someone from the Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy to create  a piece for the event. The docent explained that Sweet Sparkman is a small business and this was such a big surprise that they thought someone was playing a trick on them, only to find out that they were chosen specifically because they’re a small business and someone involved with the Biennale saw a previous work by Sweet Sparkman Architects during a visit to Sarasota. SSA accepted the invitation and contacted the Ringling College of Art & Design to collaborate with students to generate ideas. What they came up with was a piece about sand from world-famous Siesta Key Beach. The finale piece is made up of a wooden cube that viewers are invited to walk into. In the center of the cube, sand from Siesta falls from a glass orifice into a pile on the floor of the cube, where it is then sucked through the floor with  a compressor and continuously cycles from ceiling to floor. Viewers are also invited to put their hands through the falling sand, illuminated by a light coming from the glass orifice on the ceiling, as well as illuminated from behind by cast glass bricks, created with sand from Siesta Key. IMG_5740

You can view both exhibits through April 19th, Saturdays and Sundays from 1:30-3:30 pm. Patrick Dougherty’s piece can be viewed any time until it deteriorates and goes back to the land… so you’ll have plenty of time 🙂

An Interview with Austria’s Hans Weigand: Solo Show Now at the Icehouse

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Water is a strong element and subject in your work, in this series what does water function to symbolize?

HW: There are several aspects of water that interest artists. It is the element on the planet that shows, that the earth is alive. I always say that the waves are the breathing of the planet. The second is that the water is the liquid- its catching the moment of the liquid element- it has been a discipline through art, even the Greeks and Egyptians tried this, and symbolized this- it’s the transportation to the other world and so on. It has so many aspects, the waves, not only the waves of water but, but the waves of everything.

I am aware that you often view your work as an exploration into how perception is built, hence the amalgamations of images from antiquity to create these waves and whitewash- what instigated you to start exploring mental states and the subject of the psychological realm?

HW: My experience is that perception and the mental state are growing things, they are not stable-they are not like forever-you can expand them, it eh.. has a lot to do with that you let it grow, that you go to new experiences and you make experiments and you get a wider and wider perception of things, and a more abstract perception of things. The more your mental state and perception grow the more you see it as a kind of mathematics – so the same thing can have two possibilities, or more possibilities so- a musician knows almost the mathematical structure of the music.

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Do you believe perception is creative?

HW: I do believe perception is creative yes, for sure- because eh I always say in French there is the expression flaneur, which means when you flaneur through the city, where ever it doesn’t matter- you get impressions and then bring them in another state not one to one. If I see this turtle right here I don’t paint it like this- so on a whole it goes somewhere to the conscious and comes somewhere out, so I think…  perception is a lively thing. But it doesn’t mean it goes out the same way it comes in (laughs).

Why do you think Interdisciplenary art is so necessary and what is your response to “conservative” notions that claim Art cannot be digitally printed?

HW: Oh this is a good question because I think I was one of the first artists to work with digital printing, and anyway other medias, and it was always a big discussion and we always had to laugh about it. Because I say you mean, what about should we talk about- if a writer writes should we talk about the typewriting? I think that’s ridiculous. Its only the question- can somebody handle this technique or not- that’s the whole question of art, so I make no difference at all if I make a piece just a painting, it makes no difference , it doesn’t interest me. Its even boring when people say its digital because well what does is it mean? I also do woodcarving and copper engraving and we live in 2010, (2014) its here to be used. I think the doubts out there are from dumb people- who cares if a photo is digital or or… I don’t care, I don’t care, I just don’t- a photo is a photo if its made very good- thankyou, it’s the final thing- if somebody can handle it, digital printing is all aestetic and you have to get it under control. Its ridiculous- for me its nonfactor in contemporary art, for me yes, and for a lot of people who really understand it. It’s the content- if its good art.

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What advice could you offer aspiring artists for marketing themselves or getting their work out there?

HW: I can only advise something for young artists and that is fore sure- you have to move not sit here and wait until the biggest gallery comes into your studio- he isn’t coming. You have to move, that means eh – what we did was a group of artists show together, you exhibit with your friends- make it happen and not  wait until someone comes into the studio- that that is really my first advice. The other thing is forget about all the glamour in art, the glamour is just working- the glamour is here 3-5 times a year, and for me its anyways boring, it’s at the opening yes- all the rest is like hard working shit, that’s what its all about. Everyone should remember immediately its not glamorous at all its just hard working shit. That is forsure, and I think that through the media and perception of it- it looks like eh everything is so easy, but its not, its not-  when you imagine that city’s produce artists at the end, in every country and in Austria – there are only like 32 artists who are really in Public and every year there are starting about two or three thousand. I always say have plan B making books, making whatever, making a living-.

Hans Weigand’s  Solo show at the Icehouse will be on view through march 16th. Admission is free, for more information Icehouseon10th, or visit icehouseon10th on facebook.

Brief Review: Anthony Record’s Similar Scars

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAIt may be appropriate that the first solo exhibit at Seminole Heights’ new Quaid Gallery highlights the work of Anthony Record.  Record is perhaps the main driving force behind the group of artists that coalesced into the Tampa Drawers Sketch Gang which further developed into a proper gallery and collective.

Similar Scars features some of Anthony Record’s newest work in his paintings, a new zine and his sculptural painting series of ‘Jizzies’.  The exhibit finds him delving further into abstraction.  The only remnants of Record’s previously familiar scatological approach is found in some of the artwork titles.  Otherwise, he seems to have fully abandoned figuration.

Record seems to have reduced his compositions to its fundamental parts and is thoroughly scrutinizing each of the components.  A line, its curve, a shape and field of color are no longer tools but the subject itself.  While back-to-basics in painting can seem like an oft retread concept, something different seems to be happening with Record’s work.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAWhile Record may appear to have fully embraced abstraction I can’t shake the feeling that there is some sort of persisting innuendo, a trace figurative image.  This feeling isn’t borne out of the previously mentioned titles as much it’s simply confirmed by them.  The leap Record previously asked us to make between abstraction and figuration, an image and its interpretation, is now stretched nearly as far as it can be.  And still I find myself jumping – I’m still finding folds of skin, limbs, bodies in the compositions.

This back-to-basics approach is really operating in a much more nebulous space.  It’s not quite the basic components of painting being scrutinized, but their function.  To be more specific, Record’s new work investigates their function in a very specific space, one he hasn’t pinpointed so precisely as now: that narrow space and moment when nonsense becomes information and we pluck a pattern out of randomness.

A profile of Anthony Record and his art is featured in the first issue of ART AT BAY Magazine.  You can pick up an issue here.

ART AT BAY Videos: Neil Bender & Gaiety Girls

Freshly returned from a Vermont residency, artist Neil Bender is getting right back to business.  His work is the subject of Gaiety Girls an upcoming solo exhibit at Quaid Gallery.  Bender took a moment to speak with us in his studio about his practice, the thought behind it, his upcoming show, pink and more.  Check out the video below.

R. Luke DuBois – Now: Video, Digitally Generated Sound Pieces, Oscar Winning Films Throughout the Years, Maps of the Lonely Looking for Love, Playboy Pin-ups, Google, and Britney Spears

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If you’re the type of person that enjoys artists that defy categorization, look no further than the Ringling Museum of Art’s survey of New York based artist, R. Luke DuBois – Now. Not only is this the first survey of DuBois’s work, it’s also the first solo Ringling Museum exhibition for an artist who works with such a diverse range of media.

Now is the type of exhibition that needs plenty of time to be viewed and absorbed — if you prefer a  thorough grasp of what’s on display, I suggest visiting the show more than once. While some of the pieces are easily consumable, others feel as though they transcend time and space – within the viewing experience, time becomes dimensional. This, to me, makes a lot of sense being that much of the work DuBois creates is about the perception of time: but that’s only the half of it. DuBois is also interested in American popular culture, musical composition, collaborative performance, large-scale public installation, films, generative computer works, and, well there’s plenty to discover about this multi talented fellow.

One of my personal favorite’s from this survey is a new video series DuBois created during a year-long residency at Ringling Museum entitled Circus Sarasota. In this body of work, DuBois highlights aspects of Ringling’s history related to the art of performance and spectacle – being what Ringling is undoubtedly the most famous for; the circus.  Accentuated by grandiosely ornamental frames are several monitors, activated by motion sensors that display videos of current performers from Circus Sarasota – each duration of the high-definition video representing characteristics of the performer, primarily captured in slow motion. Sometimes the performer peers directly into the viewer’s eye from the monitor, creating an eerie sense of the uncanny. Personally, I love how R. Luke was successfully able to take this subject matter and create something utterly mesmerizing — where another element of time is introduced, through motion sensors, depending on the viewers’ movement and placement within the space. Now is also comprised of video, digitally generated sound pieces, Oscar-winning films throughout the years, maps of the lonely looking for love, Playboy pin-ups, Google, and Britney Spears – this show simply does not disappoint.

Also, included with Now are three collaborative performances by R. Luke DuBois and guest artists. I attended the first collaborative performance, with Lesley Flanigan as the guest artist. In this performance, Lesley created sound with varied utterances into a microphone while DuBois responded by projecting computer generated images on the adjacent wall and, simultaneously, digitally manipulating Lesley’s voice. This performance lasted about an hour and generated waves of energy, as sounds reverberated around the gallery walls. The next collaborative performances are March 20th with Todd Reynolds, and May 1st with Bora Yoon.

R. Luke DuBoise – Now runs through May 4th, 2014.  You can find more information about Now and R. Luke DuBoise’s upcoming collaborative performances HERE.

Local St.Pete artists have a lot to say about hipsters [photo review]

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The witty work of Virginia Boller- now in display at the Oleson Gallery.

My last art hunt in Downtown St.Pete turned out to be quite interesting. I did not intend, nor did  I expected, to find such critical, yet funny work (on the street and in the galleries) that fueled on the hipster dilemma. Yes, it is true that St.Pete is becoming quite the hip town, but is that  a bad thing? I specifically like the fact that the artists, here, are mindful of what local places and activities (i.e Fubar and shuffle-boarding) attract the typical  local hipsters (we have typical local hipsters?). Don’t get me wrong, to some these might be offensive, but to me they are completely harmless. They are,actually, telling of what kind of city St.Pete has become- an open-minded, interesting place that enables this kind of dialogue between the public and the artist that decides to show off their work . Anyways, here,  you will find a few images that feature the artists (most of them unknown) and their observations about hipsters- hop on aboard and share your thoughts!

Just FYI, I think most of us have encountered the ‘FAT HIPSTER’ stickers around town, I’ve seen a bunch of them on Central Ave near Haslam’s Bookstore and Art Pool Gallery.

Most of the stencil/sticker work  here was found in the alleyway behind Bluelucy Gallery.
photo4 photo3 photo2 photo1photo6Even the pretty mural has the beard thing going- also, ‘Glitter is the Herpes of craft supplies’ , ‘Glitter Shit’ and’God hates swag’!

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The two hilarious decorative boxes are available at Bluelucy- they are part of their latest exhibition, Infectious. (I want one!)

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Workshop-as-Collaborator: Uncommon Practice at the Tampa Museum of Art

1660596_10151870842296447_802949080_nUncommon Practice sees an overdue collaboration between two of Tampa’s principal art institutions: Graphicstudio and the Tampa Museum of Art.   Opening its doors over forty-five years ago, Graphicstudio is a workshop and studio based on the University of South Florida campus that has developed a reputation for making advancements in printing and innovative approaches.  A number of legendary artists – from Rauschenberg and Rosenquist to Mapplethorpe, Marclay, and Close – have collaborated with the studio to create their artwork.  It’s this important word – collaboration – that proves to move the exhibition beyond a simple survey of an atelier.

It’s thus that Uncommon Practice, curated by Jade Dellinger, avoids all of the potential pitfalls. Though it includes some of the latter half of the twentieth century’s most recognizable artists, it never simply becomes a parade of art celebrities. Neither does it afford undue attention to Graphicstudio’s boast-worthy technical skill and expertise. Rather, Uncommon Practice sharpens its focus on the products and potential of great collaboration.  The atelier works at expanding on an artist’s vision and giving it new vehicles through which it can evolve.

While perhaps not as dramatic as the larger pieces within the exhibition, this role of workshop-as-collaborator was especially striking for me in the work of Iva Gueorguieva.  Her particularly complex compositions can often be tied to her work’s process and materials, her mix of painting and collage.  However, Gueorguieva’s pieces that are included in the exhibition feature some techniques new to her work, some even new to her.  Smartly, they don’t appear as impositions on her overall body of work but instead add depth to it.  Gueorguieva’s 51 ½ inch by 35 ½ inch print collage piece Rolling Anvil, for example, is distinctly hers.  Yet, it has textural qualities (as well as color choice) unique to this work, thanks in part to its direct gravure, woodblock, and silkscreen components.  (See the piece here.)

On the other hand, printmaking in a more conventional form plays a sort of conceptual role in Allan McCollum’s Each and Everyone of You.  Created in 2004, McCollum researched the 600 most common female names and 600 most common male names according to the US census bureau, printed each name individually as white text in a black field, and finally framed all 1,200.  The names hung as an enormous grid at the center of the museum’s second floor galleries.

Though the digital ink jet printing process is fairly straightforward and common, it plays an integral role in the artwork’s conceptual weight.  Walking beside Each and Everyone of You, the installation quickly reveals a strange contrast.  The pragmatic challenges met by the artist and studio in creating a large number of pieces that are unique yet mass-produced perhaps reflects the much more personal sociological challenge of asserting and holding onto individual identity within an ocean of others.  You can see this on a smaller and comparatively trivial scale hearing others invariably whisper “I can’t find my name” while scanning the prints.

Elsewhere in Uncommon Practice the work of Christian Marclay seems to interact with Abstract Expressionism – a style not often associated contemporary art nor print workshops.  Still, the pieces feel as if they are executed with both wit and weight.  This visual connection to Abstract Expressionism is most explicit in the two pieces Splorch Splash and Whoop Swoooosh Spish.  The pieces are two proper abstract paintings on paper.  However, printed over the paintings are onomatopoeias  as the act of painting may have sounded had the work  been vocalized; these are works of art if they had existed in a comic book universe.  Further, here we may find Marclay’s clever way of giving a nod to both a school of thought and its antithesis.  Further, like in much of Marclay’s work, the artist explores ways in which sound can be incorporated in visual art, and maybe unintentionally highlight how much it had been overlooked in the past.

For many, a highlight of the exhibition will likely be Christian Marclay’s Allover (Rush, Barbara Streisand, Tina Turner, and Others) [see the image featured in the TMA banner above].  At over four feet high and eight feet long, Allover is an especially large cyanotype – a bright blue and white composition similar in appearance and process to blueprints.  Cassette tapes and their insides of musicians listed in the title are strewn about the composition.  The artist names on the cassettes (some of them visible in the print) and the physical means playback definitely recall the music behind the print (and personally remind me of sitting by my stereo, lovingly creating hours of mixtapes.)  However in some ways, this piece to seems to vaguely point back to Abstract Expressionism.  The long strips of magnetic tape criss-cross the print as if confidently flung off the end of brush.  Allover’s imposing size is also reminiscent of the style’s expansive canvases.  Yet, instead of pained and personal brushstrokes, Marclay’s print is made from layers of unexposed paper left over from pop music cassettes.

These are only three artists of the forty-five included, just few of the artworks of over 100 in Uncommon Practice.  Yet, the examples of Gueorguieva, McCollum, and Marclay illustrate Graphicstudio’s inventiveness, not only in terms of craft but conceptually as well.  They also demonstrate the potential of artists and artwork tapped when provided great collaboration and support.

Sarasota’s ‘Unreal Estate’ at Two Columns Gallery [Photo Review]

Currently, there is an excellent show at Two Columns Gallery entitled ‘Unreal Estate’. Artists in the show include Zachary See, Maggie Moody, Natalie Lerner, and Jennifer Pappas. Unreal Estate runs through Feb. 21st.

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Review: Reimagining Georgia O’Keeffe & Alfred Stieglitz

Between February 7th and 16th, The IceHouse on 10th displayed artwork by 18 artists from around the world. The premise of the show was to re-imagine the work of pioneering artists Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe — the outcome was artwork that ranged from traditional media, such as painting, to new media – including a stunning video created with drone photography. The opening event was exhilarating with the accompaniment of dance performances by Fuzion Dance – not only because of the performances themselves, but because of the way in which the audience responded. Intermittently throughout the evening, Fusion Dance performers would weave in and out of the viewing crowds, stopping occasionally to interact with a piece – each performance inspired by O’Keeffe and Stieglitz’s 30 year romance. Below are two images I was able to capture during the event; each being my personal favorite works from the show:

Video detail by Peter Graham

Video detail by Peter Graham

Video and photographs by Erin O'Malley

Video and photographs by Erin O’Malley

The IceHouse has an upcoming exhibit entitled ‘Hans Weigand: Neue Vienna Art’ which runs from March 7th – 16th. The opening reception is March 7th. You can find more information about Hans Weigand: Neue Vienna Art HERE

A Brief History of Vandalizing Art [slide show]

This Sunday the work of Ai Wei Wei became the latest high-profile work of art to gain inclusion to a list most artists would rather avoid.  Miami artist Maximo Caminero intentionally smashed one of Ai Wei Wei’s Colored Vases being exhibited at the Perez Art Museum Miami.  The destroyed vase had an estimated value of $1 million.  Caminero cited a lack of attention and support for local artists from PAMM (and an ignorance of the vase’s value) as the reason for destroying the artwork.

Caminero’s act of protest/vandalism played out much like this sort of situation typically does.  The destructive act is followed by our collective gasp.  This in turn is followed by the vandal’s weirdo-political reasoning, which prompts outrage, rebuke, and calls of “We shouldn’t be giving this guy attention – it’s what he wants!”  However, I’m not so sure that last part is the best idea – attempting to understand what happened seems more prudent than ignoring it.  I suspect due consideration of such vandalism would yield interesting and perhaps important ideas.  Psychologically speaking, how is vandalizing a work of art similar to owning it?  How do conceptions of private property or fame play into a desire to vandalize art?  Why vandalize art rather than some other highly visible object?  Click on any of the images below to start the slide show of other modern-day instances of art vandalism and be sure to let us know what you think.