Bart Johnson’s work is a bit of a painting paradox: it’s at once inside and outside.
Johnson is a well-trained artist. He received his Bachelors in Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University and went on to receive his Masters in Fine Arts from the legendary School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
If an apocalypse befell the globe, I reckon the contemporary art world would leave few ruins. Many contemporary pieces conclude their existence at the conclusion of the performance, the end of the video, or the dismantling of the installation. Don’t misunderstand me: I sympathize with an artist’s skepticism of the art object. However, in a Facebook world that is increasingly losing its thingness and placeness, it’s easy to see why at her gallery’s latest artist talk, Mindy Solomon would quote art critic Roberta Smith – Ceramic art is the new video art.
So the art season is finally winding down, not that the art actually slows down all that much around these parts. Really, it’s surprising we don’t take much of a break over the summer. The heat is ungodly. Literally. It feels like the heat is some godless and hateful sociopath around July. Anyhow, it’s still May – we should enjoy the double-digit temperatures while we can. On that note, we’re cranking up the A/C and heading to Mindy Solomon Gallery this weekend.
Mindy Solomon Gallery – Detailed Information Sat 5/26 6pm-8:30pm
Mindy Solomon Gallery‘s is keeping things tame by comparison this around. That isn’t to say that the quality of the exhibit will suffer, though. The show features some gallery familiars that all fit the Detailed Information theme pretty snug.
The art included in Detailed Information shares a representational form, the use of narrative, and a slightly surrealist leaning. The curator’s statement specifically mentions that the “work is minutely crafted to exacting detail, rich with narrative content”. This may be most readily seen in the work of Marc Burckhardt. Burkhardt’s painting Bridle is a piece I’d consider giving up my cat for (actually I’d give up my cat for much less but you get the point). The tension in the subject matter, both literal and figurative, is pleasantly straightforward. Further, Bridle‘s reference of classical aesthetic juxtaposes well with a subtly surrealist nature (which reminds me a bit of the work of Giorgio de Chirico; maybe its the color choice). Also worth paying particular attention to is the work of Wookjae Maeng. Maeng’s ghostly animal heads clearly allude to hunting trophies and trips. The porcelain figures with creepy golden eyes address interesting issues of humans subjugating nature and the relationship between the two.
The following afternoon Mindy Solomon Gallery will host an Artist Talk and Q&A with painter Carrie Ann Baade who is also exhibiting in Detailed Information. If you plan to attend the artist talk, however, make sure to RSVP no later than 5/25/12.
This Saturday I’ll be taking my first ride on the Tampa Bay Monorail. How better to see everything in St. Pete and Tampa on the same night? I’m sorry to play such a cruel joke on you. There is no monorail system. The Bay area could sure use one, though. Case in point: Disney World. Did you ever visit Disney World before they got a monorail? What a dump! Anyhow, as I mentioned there are plenty of great events to check out on both sides of the Bay this week.
St. Petersburg – 2nd Saturday Art Walk Sat 4/14
St. Petersburg’s popular 2nd Saturday Art Walk just got a guide upgrade. Bay area art doers (it was that or ‘arts facilitators’) Reuben and Hunter developed the new website: check it out here. The new virtual home has definitely increased the already busy buzz for the monthly event. How cool would it be for everyone to meet for an art party at the Independent or Sake Bomb afterwards? Anyhow, here are a couple of highlights for your walk.
Mindy Solomon Gallery – Explicit Content Sat 4/14 6pm-8pm 18 and older only
I opened the emailed flyer to this exhibit while at work. I was dumbly shocked to find a photo of a naked woman wearing a bear mask in what appears to be the back of a car. In retrospect, the exhibit title in the subject line should have tipped me off that it would be NSFW. The fact that the art is sexually explicit seems to be the point of the Mindy Solomon Gallery‘s latest group exhibit. The show that opens this Saturday features artists Scot Sothern, Christina West, Barbara DeGenevieve, Bart Johnson, Becky Flanders, Georgine Ingold, Leopold Foulem, Anne Drew Potter, and Bonnie Marie Smith.
I’m curious to see how this show is curatorially executed. Luridness as the premise for an exhibit could quickly degenerate into a freak show – strengthening the stereotype of the deviant or the Other (with a capital ‘O’) rather than investigating it. On the other hand, the theme also lends itself to a fair amount of potential. You’ll have to stop by the gallery to see for yourself. Regardless of how the exhibit ends up being presented, Mindy Solomon has rounded up some impressive artists. There will be several pieces that should be the highlight of the art walk.
C. Emerson Fine Arts – Marianne Chapel: Perceptions and Memories Sat 4/14 6pm
Opening this Saturday, CEFA presents a solo exhibit of multimedia work by Marianne Chapel. She is an abundantly awarded and well-traveled artist with studios apparently both in the Panamanian jungle and the mountains of Quebec. However, Chapel also has local connections teaching in the past at the University of Tampa and Ringling College.
It’s clear from the little I’ve seen, that Chapel’s work deals with the way stories are told, the way they’re heard, and the in-between. She uses materials that are reminiscent of personal ephemera, recalling past family mementos. Chapel uses these personal seeming narratives to comment on something larger. Her installation, Dirty Laundry warrants a stop over at the 900 block gallery.
Tempus Projects – Screening of PBS’ Art21: “Change” Sat 4/14 7pm
If you’re reading this blog, you’re also probably a big fan of PBS‘ award winning documentary series, Art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century. If you haven’t heard of it before, remember that it is me, Danny Olda, that introduced you to the series. The first five seasons of the series have been well made and absorbing. The sixth season is set to top them all.
Saturday night Tempus Projects will be screening “Change”, the first episode of the new season. The first episode focuses on artists Catherine Opie, El Anatsui, and Ai Wei Wei. I will admit I cheated: I was able to get my hands on the DVD and watch the first couple episodes. With the saga surrounding Ai Wei Wei of late I was especially anticipating the section focusing on him and his work. Art21 touches on his recent run in with the paranoid Chinese state but thankfully focuses on his brilliant work. It was with the portion on El Anatsui that I was pleasantly surprised with, though. His ever fluid work, issues of labor, change, and post-colonialism add depth not often found on television (a thimble’s worth of which would’ve improved Morley Safer’s 60 minutes piece 100 fold). I hope I’m wrong but from what I can tell WEDU and WUSF will not be airing this series (?!) so make sure you at least catch it at Tempus Projects. There will be snacks and drinks but make sure you RSVP here.
Still all hot and bothered from the Neil Bender exhibit? Take a breath, have a beer. We’re heading from raunchy baroque to elegant simplicity this weekend. Mindy Solomon is bringing it classy, so put away the velcro’s and slip on the lace-up’s – we’re heading to St. Pete this weekend.
Mindy Solomon Gallery reaches into its cache of artists this Saturday to present the work of Sungyee Kim and Kang Hyo Lee. Meditative Journeys focuses on the ancient and contemporary tendencies peculiar to Korean art.
You may have noticed contemporary Korean art is especially sought after at the moment (sort of the way Mexican-ish art is with the Low-brow/graphic design set). Korean art’s simple composition and bright color choice (not to mention its nod to Taoism, I Ching, and often Buddhism) contribute to it standing out.
I really hate to lump an entire ethnicity of artists together distinct from the rest of the art world. It reminds me of a recent interview with Ai Wei Wei in which the writer told him “Some people call you the chinese Andy Warhol”. Wei Wei responded by saying “I don’t see that. No, I’d say that Andy Warhol is the American Ai Wei Wei.” However, while there is something about the contemporary Korean aesthetic that’s congruent with the Western Art world, there is more that makes it distinctly Korean. It’s this mix that makes the work particularly pleasing.
It’s also this mix that’s easily seen in the paintings of Sungyee Kim. The paintings seem to have been painted today and brought back in time to mature. It isn’t a coincidence that these paintings match the ceramic work of Kang Hyo Lee so well. Ceramic art is where Korean art as well as the Mindy Solomon Gallery excel. Meditative Journeys may ask for longer, quiet consideration. Personally, a little break from the like button/retweet world is in order. This show seems like a good place to start.
Taco Bus, warm up my burrito because I’m coming to down to the ‘Burg this weekend! With the winter holidays behind us downtown St. Pete is kicking off the second half of the art season. Here are two things to check out this weekend.
C. Emerson Fine Arts – Films for One to Eight Projectors Friday, 1/06 7pm
The show at CEFA this Friday is being described as “multi-projector experiments by Roger Beebe“. To say that Beebe will be showing five films is an understatement if not inaccurate. Beebe acts as more than a film maker or even a video artist. Using antiquated equipment and multiple film projectors simultaneously almost makes the event verge on performance art. You can expect this to be a great show. All of you Tempus people would definitely dig this. Anyhow, its good to see some more not-hanging-on-a-wall art. I spoke with Beebe and will be posting the interview shortly.
Rock-Paper-Scissors is a group exhibit curated by Isabel Balzer of balzerARTprojects. While the name of the show has a loose relationship with the work (as it seems every good group show does) it should tell you about how fun this exhibit promises to be. To be fair, though, the show’s name really references the universality of art and versatility of paper. balzerARTprojects is a great curatorial project/gallery based in Basel, Switzerland and known for exhibiting talented emerging international artists. This exhibit will be featuring the artists Andi Bauer, Domenico Billari, Tom Fellner, EddiE haRA, Mimi von Moos, Nici Jost, Oliver Lang, Sebastien Meija and Olga Vonmoos.