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.

A Better Time Signature: Stacy Rosende at Gallery 221

In a way, I was glad I had missed the opening reception.  Instead, I walked the gallery for an hour alone on a Monday afternoon.  Stacy Rosende‘s solo exhibit subSURFACE speaks slowly and would likely rather wait patiently than shout over the din of a crowded art party.  This reveals something about the work itself – there is a peculiar sort of temporality running through it.

Initially, some of Rosende’s new work is reminiscent of the paintings of Todd Chilton.  However, the two artists tackle very different concerns.  Unlike Chilton’s opaque painterly style, Rosende creates a sort of abstract foreground and background.  Geometric patterns of color cover the panels.  Underneath, an arrangement of decorative flourishes can be dimly seen at times and disappear completely elsewhere.  This was inspired by a recent stay in Venice, Italy as the texture, patterns and layers of the city’s walls clearly influenced much of the work in subSURFACE.  The play between foreground and background does add a sense of depth to Rosende’s paintings.  However, a clear and strong sense of rhythm still dominates Rosende’s work.  The paintings may have come from an interest in surface, but seem to be very much about rhythm.

Vertical lines of color, irregularly sized and multi-colored without a discernible pattern, suggest a complex beat and a certain musicality.  Rosende doesn’t offer the eye a place to rest, instead forcing it to play through the composition, dancing over the colors left to right and back again.  In her statement, Rosende draws comparisons between tones in music and color, waves of sound and light, and arrangements both musical and visual.  Perhaps all of these comparisons are most easily discerned in Fertile.

At the center of the space, the sculpture occupies a significant amount of the gallery floor.  Twenty-nine differently sized stone-like objects (they’re actually plaster mixed with natural materials) are arranged in a ‘V’ formation from largest to smallest.  One side of each object is smooth and painted, the largest orange and gradually darkening with each piece down to the smallest painted black.

Fertile contrasts severely against the paintings and prints in the exhibit while offering a sort of respite.  Unlike the paintings which produce a sort of visual syncopation, the size, color and arrangement in Fertile all work in accord to produce a specific rhythm, a particular movement.  The piece draws your eyes front to back to front.  The movement is almost sexual.  The work’s title coupled with the movement suggest the womb, birth, or even the ascension and descent explored in the Cremaster Cyle of Matthew Barney.

Though I may be swayed by my particular gallery visit, what may be most valuable about this show is its slower pace.  Conceptual one-liners, needlessly showy and large work, parties badly disguised as art exhibits: each often coddle and cater to a critical laziness.  Rosende’s solo exhibit doesn’t do this.  Instead, the show makes apparent that it’ll take time.  If you are to honestly like or dislike the work, it’ll be after spending some time with it.  Ultimately, it may be this sort of “time signature” that is key to taking art seriously again.

Art@Bay at Sarasota Visual Art – Like Water, Plain Yet Potent

Flush the toilet, wash down a pill, take a bath, drive through the rain, swig a bottle of Dasani, drown.  Despite its ubiquitous nature (or perhaps because of it) water makes for incredibly potent symbolism – a potency that is not lost on artist Michelle Fader.  As a theme, water flows through Michelle Fader’s solo exhibit, Toward Evening, at the USF Centre Gallery.

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