How to Make Art and the Gallery For It

J. Alderiso, Untitled, Charcoal

The aesthetics of artwork in any exhibit carries the burden of an art critic’s reckoning.  This reckoning, though, generally glosses over the endless business of art: lighting, insurance, contracts, pricing, delivery, labels, publicity, refreshments.  Further, artists are independent thinkers by nature, and organizing them into a group exhibit can be a challenge in itself.  It’s not unlike Moses leading the exodus… if the Israelites were feral cats.

This underscores the importance of student galleries.  Many, perhaps even most art students never grow up to be artists.  Rather, a great number somehow muster enough rationality to opt for a more level-headed career such as curating, consulting, dealing and so on.  A student gallery not only shows how to produce gallery-worthy art, but also a gallery worthy of art.  While student galleries are standard on most University campuses, they are often conspicuously missing from junior and community colleges.  Thus the opening of MAZE Gallery, Hillsborough Community College’s new student gallery, is especially welcome.  Further,  EMERGE – the gallery’s inaugural exhibit – seems to suggest that the students are getting the lesson.

Stephanie Julianna Wadman, untitled, mixed media encaustic

In regards to the art: as with most student group exhibits, artists still in development, the offering was a bit of a mixed bag compared to typical commercial galleries.  However, a number of pieces stood out as especially mature.  For example artist, J. Alderiso exhibited work in charcoal as well as video.  Though two very different mediums, the style was consistent and well thought out.  Her untitled abstract charcoal pieces particularly display a familiarity with the medium as well as composition.  The pieces use a mix of abstract and figurative styles that is beginning to get tired in painting but feels fresh in charcoal.

Another example are the prints of Jeffrey Agno Chin.  The work seems to reference maps or diagrams which in turn feel to lend a spacial-temporal anchor…or maybe I’m just a map-nerd and couldn’t stop staring at them.  Seriously, the prints carry some sort of attachment to a time and place that communicates itself effectively.

It’s telling that I nearly forgot to ask if the students also set up the gallery for the exhibit.  It takes a considerable amount of work to build something as meticulously unobtrusive as a gallery setting.  Selecting work to include and where to hang it is an art in itself.  When done well, these things aren’t conspicuous.  Rather, as was the case, they only make themselves plain when sought out.

Mixed media print/drawings by Jeffrey Agno Chin

EMERGE was a good exhibit and MAZE Gallery a promising venue.  What’s particularly significant is that the exhibit and gallery are also a reason for optimism.  While at times artistic talent can be had naturally or by self-instruction, the practical skills needed for an art-world career are a bit more scarce.    Real life experience in making art as well as preparing a gallery around it is invaluable.  Public praise to HCC for making that opportunity even more accessible.

How to Make Art and the Gallery For It

Tampa Art Guide 10/03, 04, and 05!

Sometime in the early ’90’s I constantly wore several slap bracelets on each arm.  I did this to maximize the use I could extract from the bracelets before they inevitably fell out of favor with fashion. The Tampa Art scene seems to be packing events into the first half of October as if it were similarly about to go out of style, so to say.  Seriously, though, its only an expression: good art will never go out of style.  But just in case, you better head to all of these.  Consider the line-up for the next three days.

MAZE Gallery, HCC – EMERGE Art Exhibition

Opening Reception Wed 10/03 4:30pm-7:00pm

Gallery 221 at Hillsborough Community College has emerged to be an important gallery in an art scene that feels like it’s just picking up steam.  University galleries can often and easily be dismissed, with community college galleries hardly receiving any consideration at all.  At HCC, though, skillful curating has kept the gallery relevant and interesting.  Wednesday the school celebrates the opening of a brand new venue: MAZE Gallery.  The space will exhibit the work of current students and HCC alumni.  The importance of student galleries in colleges deserves a blog post unto itself.  I’ll just say that this space was a surprising move for a school of this size, but a great decision.  Stop by Wednesday evening to catch some student work in the gallery’s inaugural exhibit.

Tempus Projects – REDUCED5

Closing Reception Thur 10/04 6:30pm-8:30pm

The REDUCED5 juried exhibit ends this Saturday with a reception to close things out.  the black and white themed show is juried by its creator Kurt Piazza.  Honestly, in terms of quality, juried exhibits in our area are usually hit and miss at best.  Perhaps it’s the parameters set on the work, but there is nary a weakling in the bunch here.  Further, much of the work comes with a price tag that could likely fit your budget.  While you’re there keep an eye out for the witty work of freshly gone Ryann Slauson among others.

Box on 5th – Vince Kral: FanAddict

Opening Reception Fri 10/05 7:30pm-10:00pm

The new gallery’s fourth exhibit is a solo exhibit featuring the work of local artist Vince Kral.  Though I haven’t spotted an artist statement yet, I’m familiar with his art.  Kral’s work often deals with complex ideas of pop-culture, consumption of images, authorship, and so on.  However, his art is delivered with an intelligent humor making his work accessible.  Kral often treads some conceptual ground that we don’t often see from local artists.  For example, check out his Sponsor Vince Suit.  Anyhow, you can expect to see an especially engaging exhibit at a venue that has been bringing crowded receptions since its opening.

Tampa Art Guide 10/03, 04, and 05!

Art Season Kick Off – Galleries to Check Out Saturday!

Justin Nelson, Trash Mountain, 2012

It’s finally here!  I’m not talking about the Republican National Convention.  Dust off your gallery shoes because the art season officially (according to me) begins this weekend!    A gallery on either side of the bay kicks off the season with an exhibit you need to see.

Box on 5th – Hypostasis: New and Recent Work from Justin Myers, Justin Nelson, and Danny Olda    Sat 8/11  8pm-10pm

That’s right – that’s my name in the exhibit title.  If you’re familiar with the blog, though, you know I’d be recommending this show anyway based on the other two artists alone.  I swear.  Read further if you need convincing.

Hypostasis, the show’s title is a philosophical term referring to a subject’s essential nature as opposed to its attributes.  I realize this may come off as pretentious art-speak from a usually smart-mouthed blogger.  Honestly, though, I chose the name of the exhibit because of aesthetics the three of us shared – a blend of abstraction and figuration.  Using both disparate techniques can allow an artist to open up interpretation on a subject and its concept.

Justin Myers is a Tampa artist regular – you would’ve last seen his work at the Box on 5th preview party or Tempus For the Spring.  Myers is also involved in the music scene as half of the project, Alien House, and though his amazing solo work as Diamond Man.  I’ve been a fan of Justin Nelson’s work before I was even aware he was a local artist – featured in (inter)national media such as Beautiful/Decay and Booooooom.  Nelson will be exhibiting brand new work for the Box on 5th inaugural exhibit.  I got a chance to see it this morning and was impressed: he makes use of a brighter color palette but a more austere composition.  I’ll be featuring work from a series of paintings based on magazine advertisements.  The series deals with the face and ways it’s tied to identity and language.  Also, the Blue Bird Books Bus will have a curated collection of books for you to peruse in while in the gallery.  If you’re in Tampa, the opening reception for Box on 5th’s first exhibit will definitely be worth an appearance.

 C. Emerson Fine Arts – Wicked Games    Sat 8/11  6pm-9pm

I wrote a preview for this exhibit at Articulate – check it out here.  There are a few things I’d like to add to that preview, though.  The opening exhibit for an art season is usually made to be an especially strong one for the gallery.  That makes a show like this one from a St. Pete heavy hitter like CEFA an essential visit.  In addition to the two artists I mention in the Articulate preview, an installation from artist Donna Haynes should make for a great exhibit.

Art Season Kick Off – Galleries to Check Out Saturday!