The first time we met he related a memory of throwing off their clothes and jumping into a collector’s pool with Jean-Michel (Yes, as in Basquiat). I suppose it isn’t surprising such an artist is cherished by the local community. Really, though, it is his painting that’s secured him in the esteem of Tampa Bay.
Wujcik’s work is often about pop culture but somehow beyond pop art. His work explores some of the subtext of cultures while tackling the nuances of painting itself. Each new series of work seems to bring along a refined conceptual efficiency. Thus its with some excitement that new work from Theo Wujcik is now exhibiting at Sarasota’s Selby Gallery.
The show is an interesting combination of solo and dual exhibit. Selby Gallery is exhibiting in inter-institutional conjunction with State College of Florida which is presenting the work of Kirk Ke Wang. Wujcik and Wang work in nearby studios often meeting to discuss new work and the concepts behind it. Though both have a way of getting at the politics behind pop-culture, ethnic cultures, and art making they differ markedly in execution. Exhibiting the two together in a way offers two perspectives of the same landscape. Especially interesting is the fact that Theo Wujcik created entirely new work specifically for this exhibit.
Ringling College’s Selby Gallery is a beautiful 3,000 square foot space. Aimed at offering students and the surrounding community exposure to acclaimed artists, the gallery sets out to be “both a center of learning and hub of extracurricular activity.” Selby Gallery has developed a reputation beyond that of a college gallery and into as one of Sarasota’s best destinations for contemporary art.
Theo Wujcik: New Paintings is on view through December 11. Selby Gallery is located on the Ringling College of Art and Design campus, one-half block east of 2700 N. Tamiami Trail on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Sarasota. Hours are Monday – Saturday, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, and Tuesday, 10:00 Am – 7:00 PM.
Theo Wujcik, Dragon, 2012, 90”x84”; Joe Triana, photographer
It’s sad in a way – like homeless people lending each other money; the current economic climate impelling the underfunded to fund each other. My wife reminds me that I’ve been an especially cranky critic lately. This would be why. However, these days marked by austerity seem to be shifting into days marked by crowdsourcing, a trend to which Tampa Bay has warmed up quickly. Indeed, around here crowdsourced funds appear to nearly outpace great ideas needing a kick-start. In a way, it’s promising. Tempus for the Spring illustrated this promise well enough to oblige me to begin to uncrank.
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Need an alibi for your whereabouts last night? If you’re a Bay area art-worlder you were likely here, Tempus for the Spring. Look for a proper review soon and enjoy these photos meanwhile.
The courtyard near the CL Space
Theo Wujcik, Arts Grip, Acrylic on canvas, 2011
Art by George Anderton (five pieces on the left) and Justin Nelson (one piece on the right)
Video work by Kurt Piazza in the background
Sure, you had a good time at Art After Dark last week. Though, now you may be asking “Danny, is there another art party worth going to soon?” I’m glad you asked. I’m also sorry I started off this week like an infomercial. Anyhow, here’s another art party for you with one serious improvement: it supports an important cause.
CL Space – Tempus for The Spring Sat 4/28
VIP admission – $30 in advance or $35 at the door, 6pm-10pm
General admission – $10, student (with ID) – $5, 7pm-10pm
The cause behind the party should be mentioned first – The Spring of Tampa Bay. The Spring is Hillsborough’s only certified domestic violence prevention and emergency shelter agency. Tempus for The Spring is specifically supporting the creation of a new art therapy program for the agency. It’s only fitting that such a program is helped to be brought about with an art party. This is where you can do your bit to prevent domestic violence and support the arts this Saturday.
That being said, I won’t lie – the Bay area isn’t short on art parties. I can easily think of some regulars on both sides of the bay. Thus, if you have some sort of literal art party addiction you’re set. Like most things, though, the art parties actually worth your presence are few. These events can easily get heavy on the party side and light on the art, as in “Art Lite”. Tempus for The Spring seems to be a different sort of affair.
Firstly, two of the Bay area’s best painters will be showing and selling work: Theo Wujcik and Neil Bender. Additionally, up and coming artists such as Justin Nelson and Ryann Slauson will be joining the gang on the wall (not to mention Tempus Projects’ Tracy Midulla Reller and Bluebird Books Bus’ Mitzi Gordon among many other great artists). If you ever had hopes of owning art, Saturday would be a prime opportunity to make good on it. Work is being sold via silent auction which could possibly help you land a sweet price, especially if you take advantage of a sneak peek that comes with a VIP admission. More importantly, though, with cash you lay down for the auction you not only acquire awesome artwork but you also help out an awesome agency in a very real way. You could be an art collector and a philanthropist with one maneuver of the wallet: classy! Classy, but not snooty. With a $3 per drink cash bar (free drinks with a VIP admission) and DJ, fun is to be had, even by philistine non-art liking types.
Regardless of your interest, causes and art rarely fit so well together. Not often do venues like Tempus Projects exhibit in venues like the CL Space. And Seldom can you contribute to an important cause by collecting art.
Tempus Projects – Things Not Seen Before: A Tribute to John Cage Sat. 1/14 – 7pm-10pm
I have a special place in my art-heart for Tempus Projects, and their exhibition set to open Saturday typifies why.
Things Not Seen Before: A Tribute to John Cage is hosted by Tempus Projects in cooperation with a companion exhibition John Cage 33 1/3 – Performed by Audience, to open later this month at the Tampa Museum of Art. Both exhibits are being presented by independent curator Jade Dellinger as part of the John Cage centennial celebration.
Showcasing both exhibits in such seemingly disparate venues is an extremely smart curatorial call on the part of Dellinger. This comes as no surprise – Dellinger has been behind a number of great exhibits featured in the Bay area. No doubt, John Cage would’ve approved of an intimate artist-run space (trust me, we were tight) like Tempus Projects.
The name of the exhibit is based on a line Cage wrote in a letter to Dellinger as a student in the 1980’s: “I’m not interested in the names of movements but rather in seeing and making things not seen before.” The exhibit will feature several original pieces by Cage including work that’s never been exhibited. Among Cage’s artwork will be trial proofs from his Mushroom Book and a monotype from his “String” series.
An overwhelming list of overwhelmingly imaginative people will also be featured such as David Byrne, Christian Marclay, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Stephen Vitiello, and a gaggle of original(!) Fluxus artists among many others. Check out the full list at Tempus Projects’ site. Additionally, well-known Bay area artists Joe Griffith and Theo Wujcik (my favorite local painter) will be producing site specific artwork for the space.
The amount of creativity Tempus Projects and Jade Dellinger are able to organize and fit into the Tampa gallery is impressive. Considering a little garage in Seminole heights could muster the gumption (or moxie) to present an exhibit worthy of a museum warms the DIY-soul. More importantly, though, it illustrates the importance and potential alternative spaces can have in the Bay area arts community.
I won’t be able to make it on Saturday (please don’t remind me unless you want to see a sissy-man cry). If you’re going and would like to be featured on the blog write about your visit to the show, take pictures, draw renditions, record the ambient sounds, etc. and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org