Warm Up the Skinny Jeans, Kids – Art to Check out this Weekend! 4/06 – 4/08

I’ve been thinking about changing the title of this series before no one’s wearing skinny jeans anymore.  How about “Slap on the Slap Bracelets, Kids” or “Lace Up the Renaissance Fair Shirts, dudes”.  Let me know if you have any ideas.  Anyhow,  April is turning out to be a busy month and this weekend we’re hanging out in Tampa.

Tempus Projects – Your Body is a Punishment: Anthony Record & Justin Nelson    Sat 4/07  8pm-10pm

Tempus Projects presents an exhibit featuring two Tampa Artists, Anthony Record and Justin Nelson.  The two share more than that, though: on the art continuum of abstract to representational they both land in the ambiguous middle-ground.

Justin Nelson, represented locally by St. Pete’s CEFA, lives and works out of Tampa.  I was surprised to hear he was a hometown artist, first running into his work far from home on a Canadian art blog.  This in itself says something about Nelson’s work – its easy to see why it could get viral with art nerds (like me) online.  It has a touch of the popular surrealism of the Low-Brow style without its low browishness.  Nelson consistently hides and abstracts areas that our eyes immediately scan for such as faces, eyes.  This forces the viewer to use hands or silhouettes as reference points.  It’s unsettling in a pleasant way.  Trust me: that makes sense.

Anthony Record lands a little closer to the abstract end of the spectrum.  However, his paintings don’t blur the line between abstract and representational a la Annie Lapin – Record’s work seems to have a foot firmly planted at either end.  His newer paintings resemble ancient ecclesiastical work such as stained glass (solid colors and heavy black outlines) and mosaics (dotting instead of painterly strokes).  These paintings honestly feel like they reference the representational and the abstract, the earthly and the heavenly, the concrete and the virtual. It reminds me of a Guy Debord quote: “The spectacle is the material reconstruction of the religious illusion.”   The gallery’s statement was right on.

It’s Anthony Record’s yarn work that I’m particularly looking forward to seeing.  If anyone has recently inherited any money, picking up one of these pieces for me would make me especially fond of you.  His yarn pieces seem to slip out of representation like lo-res photos or old Nintendo games.  The organic nature of the material juxtaposes well with the synthetic coloring.  This exhibit is set to be a larger market calibre show.  Indeed, both artists have exhibited internationally.  The fact that both artists are part of our local scene, though, gives the exhibit added value.

Also…

USF Centre Gallery – Obvious Truth by David Gabbard  closing reception    Fri 4/06  7pm-9pm

The Centre Gallery is fitted with an installation that more than resembles a little kid’s fort in a 1970’s living room.  What I would give to keep my dignity and crawl around gleefully through the installation!

Warm Up the Skinny Jeans, Kids – Art to Check out this Weekend! 4/06 – 4/08

Warm Up the Skinny Jean, Kids – Art to Check Out this Weekend! 3/02-3/04

The runt month of February has come and gone. I learned the hard way that things you do on Leap Day do count.  Anyhow, with the advent of March our art microcosm becomes much more interesting.  To kick the month off we have two closing receptions on one side of the bay and an opening on the other.

USF Centre Gallery – The Attic by Shanna Martin and Ben Berrett closing reception    Fri 3/02  7pm-9pm

Tempus Projects – Neil Bender: Purple Nurple closing reception    Fri 3/02  8pm-10pm

USF Centre Gallery - THE ATTIC

THE ATTIC is an installation/performance piece by artists Shanna Martin and Ben Berrett.  ‘Attic’ is one of those tired metaphors for the subconscious that more often than not dooms artwork to cliché-hood (think the cover of Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic).  If you’ve seen the performance in person or on YouTube, though, the stock symbol becomes disturbingly real.  The performance produces an honest sense of chaos as two monsters trudge around the space – a real life Id left to its own devices.  Cliché or not, THE ATTIC is likely to be the most interesting art you’ll see this weekend.

Tempus Projects is closing Neil Bender’s solo exhibit with a reception this Friday as well.  I wrote a review of the show that you can find here.  If you didn’t get a chance to make it to the opening, a trip Seminole Heights is worth it.  Bender’s paintings are surprisingly relevant – they engage in a way familiar to other mediums.  Check out the review if you want to know more about the exhibit.

Studio@620 – Florida Focus Exhibition: A Celebration of Contemporary Florida Art    Sat 3/03  7pm

The Florida Focus Exhibition is a group exhibit of 32(!) artists from around the state.  The force and focus behind the show is its curator, Ken Rollins.  Rollins’ name may sound familiar: he was the executive director for a few Florida art museums including the interim executive director of the TMoA  during its make over.  The exhibit celebrates his 70th birthday with the work of many artists he’s worked with throughout his career.

The roster is a long list of well-known and respected Florida artists.  That isn’t to say that it’ll be particularly exciting, though.  If you’re the type of art nerd that’s stoked about Mindy Solomon’s Explicit Content show, you may find yourself choking down a yawn at this one.  My recommendation is to take a friend and sharpen your critic skills.  You’ll find some art that you admire and art that you less than admire – articulate the particulars of what you think.  Regardless, the education on Florida artists makes the exhibit worth seeing.  The full list of artists is too long to name here but check out the full roster of artists here.

Also this weekend:

Gasparilla Festival of the Arts – Curtis Hixon Park     Sat 3/03  9am-6pm, Sun 3/04 9am-5pm

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this event.  However, I should send you off with the warning that the Festival comes with a reputation for being extremely tame.  I’ve heard the general style described as “hotel art” – so inoffensive that it’s offensive.  Now go enjoy the sunshine!

Warm Up the Skinny Jean, Kids – Art to Check Out this Weekend! 3/02-3/04