Please note that this blog is no longer active.
This is an archive of the Artsqueeze.com blog, which I maintained from 2007 to 2009. I continue to host it for giggles… and old times’ sake. If you would like to know what’s doing in Tampa Bay now, please check out recent clips at my homepage or pick up a copy of Creative Loafing Tampa. My Twitter handle is now @megan_voeller. Thanks for reading!
Keith Thomas, Young Liar, 2009. Oil on prepared cardboard.
Most artists I know make work inspired by their personal lives — even if the end product looks so abstract or conceptual that you’d be hard pressed to find evidence of human experience in it. Keith Thomas, perhaps, just takes a more direct route than some from life to canvas — or, in his case, from screen to page.
Since his late teens, Thomas, a recent graduate of the University of South Florida’s BFA program, has made drawings, paintings and installations inspired by his experiences meeting other gay men online. In fact, for all intents and purposes, his Internet-enabled love life is itself a work of art. Whenever he logs into a gay chat site or arranges to meet a guy in real life, Thomas embarks on research — not because he approaches each encounter with the scientific remove of an anthropologist, but because his intimate thoughts and feelings give rise to poetic visual translations of experiential data.
(Wait a minute, I hear you asking: Does that mean every time I jerk off to a photo of a naked, ripped guy online that I, too, am making art? No, honey — only Keith.)
Read more at Creative Loafing>>
Tags: Contemporary Art · Drawing · Painting
Guest contributor Kurt Piazza provides this review of artist Allen Hampton’s latest work. -Megan>>
Installation view of work by Allen Hampton.
“I feel like I’m not able to connect to most people. Eventually they disappoint you,” says Allen Hampton. I met up with Hampton recently to talk about his new work, which deals primarily with loneliness, ennui and fear. As an artist, he approaches these subjects with stunning sensitivity, shadowed by a sense of menace.
I first met Hampton about four years ago while serving as curator at the Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo; he was in his first year of graduate art school at the University of South Florida. His work was gritty, yet incredibly detailed and full of complex, layered imagery and text. I was drawn to it almost immediately and have followed his progress since. Hampton graduated just over a year ago and has been developing a new body of work, which he showed recently at Three04, an alternative art space in Tampa. His new work, consisting of paintings, drawings, sculptures and video employs– among other things– found objects, recurring imagery of wolves and self-portraits. The work feels lonely and disengaged, yet when experienced all together, there is a sense that something dreadful or cataclysmic is about to happen.
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Tags: Drawing · Reviews · Tampa · Video
Customers browse at the Tampa Artist Emporium in South Tampa. Pictured below: Boggs stands behind the Emporium’s front desk.
Two years ago, Tampa photographer Shelby Boggs took a gamble. Inspired by the Kress Emporium, an historic building in Asheville, NC, that serves as a marketplace for more than 80 regional artists and craftspeople, she set out to create something similar (if smaller) in Tampa. Using some money sheâ€™d pocketed after flipping a house in the once-hot real estate market, she snagged a favorable lease in Hyde Park Village.
Boggs dubbed the location, once occupied by retailer Ann Taylor, the Tampa Artist Emporium and soon began renting wall and shelf space to local artists, who displayed their work. Monthly mixers and an open-door policy during the shopping districtâ€™s popular outdoor art fair led to sales. In relatively short order, Boggsâ€™ pie-in-the-sky idea didnâ€™t look so crazy after all.
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Tags: Craft · Design · Events · Mixed Media · News · Painting · Photography · Sculpture · Tampa
Tes One’s spray-paint-on-wood painting measures 10-ft. by 11-ft.
You know what they say: when the going gets tough, the tough getâ€¦bigger?
Despite the ongoing economic malaiseâ€”which seems to find Florida in a particularly compromising positionâ€”St. Petersburg artist and art party impresario John Vitale isnâ€™t giving up. Though the muralist and owner of Vitale Studio recently downsized out of a company warehouse that doubled as an art gallery, his response to tough times is simply to take the show on the road.
All the way downtown to Nova 535, that is.
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Tags: Contemporary Art · Events · Exhibits · Fashion · Mixed Media · Painting · Printmaking · Sculpture · St. Pete
Bruce Marsh, Riverwall (detail). Photo by Megan Voeller.
Downtown Tampa’s Riverwalk gained a public art cornerstone recently with the installation of Bruce Marsh‘s Riverwall– a 40-foot long mural composed of photographic images of the Hillsborough River. Fired into porcelain enamel on steel plates, the images show the river– a 54-mile long waterway integral to the region’s ecological health– in a variety of incarnations, from a forking artery seen from above to a forested stomping ground for boaters.
Marsh, who taught art at the University of South Florida from 1969 to 2003, is well known in the region and beyond as an outstanding landscape painter. Though the Riverwall relies mainly on photographic depictions of the river, some of his paintings appear as pictures among the 550 featured images (each 8-inches by 9-1/2-inches). From afar, the grid forms a purposely enigmatic, river-like shape based on a photograph of floating water lilies.
â€œThe whole idea [was to make] something that would offer a visual hook… that would entice and draw people… and function as a gathering point,â€ Marsh says.
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Tags: Contemporary Art · Painting · Photography · Public Art · Tampa
Allen Leepa (American, b. 1919). Homage to Tarpon Springs, 1998. Acrylic on canvas, 5 x 12 feet (2 panels). Courtesy Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.
Earlier this week, Allen Leepa– abstract painter and founder of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College– died at age 90. In celebration of his legacy, the museum will showcase his art in an exhibition scheduled to open on Aug. 2, Allen Leepa: In Memoriam.
In 1997, Leepa and his wife Isabelle donated $2.5 million to St. Petersburg College (then St. Petersburg Junior College) along with an extensive collection of works by Leepa, Esther Gentle Rattner (his mother) and Abraham Rattner (his stepfather). The collection, which is valued at upwards of $20 million, also includes works by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Georges Rouault and Hans Hofmann.
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Rumors of a Sarah Jessica Parker-produced reality TV show â€“ think Project Runway for visual artists â€“ have finally been confirmed, and a round of regional casting calls held over the next two weeks will determine the series’ first round of participants. Aspiring Tampa-based contenders can head to Miami for next Tuesday’s try-outs at Fredric Snitzer Gallery in Wynwood. Just fill out the 23-page application (actual question: â€œWhat annoys you about other artists?â€) and prep your portfolio (including â€œany original artwork that is easily transportable.â€)
The application warns that contestants will need to have a current passport and submit to all medical and psychological examinations deemed necessary. So bring the drama, but leave the crazy at home.
Official Bravo casting call
Media Bistro’s UnBeige blog
Tags: Contemporary Art · News
Image courtesy Polk Museum of Art
This weekend, the Polk Museum of Art celebrates the debut of its recently acquired Art-O-Mat with an interactive talk by Art-O-Mat founder and creator Clark Whittington.
Whittington, a conceptual artist based in Winston-Salem, NC, first hatched the Art-O-Mat idea for an exhibition in 1997, when he transformed a dilapidated cigarette machine into a retro-fabulous contraption to dispense his own small-scale works of art. When the show was over, the hosting venueâ€”Maryâ€™s Of Course CafÃ© in Winston-Salemâ€”requested that the machine stick around. Whittington obliged, inviting other artists to refill it with cigarette pack-sized works.
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Tags: Calls To Artists · Collectors · Contemporary Art · Events · Exhibits · Installation · Interactive · Lakeland · Sculpture
Andy Warhol. Flowers (1970), screenprint. Â©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/ARS, NY. On Loan from Bank of Americaâ€™s Art in Our Communities Program.
At the outset of writing anything about Andy Warhol, it seems like a sure bet that nothing new can be said. Nothing, anyway, that hasn’t already been better articulated by scholars, biographers and filmmakers, by Warhol himself in his published diaries, or even by Lou Reed and John Cale in their album Songs for Drella (the Warhol nickname that fuses Dracula and Cinderella). His trademarks — the painstaking accounting for even small expenditures, the chronic unhappiness with his physical appearance and consequent plastic surgery, the wig, the Factory — seem less like insights and more like distractions that prevent proximity to the “real Andy.”
Warhol himself was famously dismissive of attempts at biographical or psycho-analysis of his work, saying, “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol just look at the surface: of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”
So in response to Andy Warhol Portfolios: Life and Legends, an exhibition of 72 of the superstar pop artist’s silkscreen prints from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, I’ll simply exhort you to go and look.
Read more at CLTampa.com>>
Tags: Contemporary Art · Exhibits · Printmaking · Reviews · St. Pete
Craig Kaths. 24 bit one. 18â€ x 18â€, 24-color screen print on Arches 88 paper. Image courtesy craigkaths.com.
Though this weekend ushers in summer – a season notoriously devoid of art offerings in Tampa Bay – you wouldn’t know it from this busy slate of openings and events. The weekend begins early with tonight’s Heart Show 2009 and an Ybor Art Party. Friday night’s opening for Craig Kaths’ exhibition at Reax Space promises to be a June highlight, along with a triple header at the historic Santaella Cigar Factory (1906 N. Armenia Ave.), where the West Tampa Center for the Arts, art and Three04 will all host opening or closing receptions for current exhibits.
6-9 p.m. â€“ Ybor Art Party at Ybor Art Studio (2702 E. 7th Ave.), featuring art by Ron Guerin; $5 donation.
6 p.m.-12 a.m. â€“ Heart Show 2009, a night of art and fashion at Snow Park in downtown Tampa to benefit the James Anthony Ray Sadler Scholarship Fund, hosted by Tribeca Salon; $50 VIP admission (6-8 p.m.) includes wine and hors d’ouevres by Mise En Place, $10 general admission (8 p.m.-12 a.m.). For more information, email guestservices [at] tribecasalon [dot] com.
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Jeremy Chandler. Couple at the Fair. Image courtesy of the artist.
First there was Beth Reynoldsâ€™ documentation of Tampa life in heterogeneous formâ€”from the flamenco dancer to the crab fisherman. Then came Suzanne Camp Crosbyâ€™s more surreal take on the cityâ€™s characterâ€”think headless mannequins in period costume arranged on the veranda of Plant Hall. Next, Rebecca Sexton Larsonâ€™s pinhole photographs, Steven S. Gregoryâ€™s digitally altered landscapes and Marion Belangerâ€™s haunting interior spaces, devoid of people.
Now the sixth shooter to take up the mantle of photographer laureate for the City of Tampa, Jeremy Chandler, offers his view of the burgâ€™s charms and curiosities. Through July 6, twenty of his color photographs (from a portfolio of 35 images in all) are on view at Gallery AIA at the American Institute for Architects offices in downtown Tampa. Like each of his predecessors, Chandler sees Tampa through his own aesthetic â€˜lensâ€™â€”in this case, one devoted to portraiture.
Read more at CLTampa.com>>
Tags: Exhibits · Photography · Public Art · Reviews · Tampa