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Artsy Spot: Florida Mining

7 Nov

Ninety-nine percent of the time I completely love my life in the Pacific Northwest.  But occasionally, there is that nagging little 1% that longs to be back in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, just so that I can be in the thick of the exciting artistic resurgence happening there.  Though the arts in Jax were hit hard by the recession, artists and art supporters are determined to make Jacksonville a cultural destination.  Among them, artist Steve Williams is bringing home forward-thinking, atypical art with his new gallery, Florida Mining.

CPHACE by Laird, inaugural exhibition at Florida Mining

Williams is no stranger to playing gallerist.  He’s been at the heart of several successful galleries in Jacksonville over the years.  As an artist, he thrives on being involved with other artists and their creative processes.  And, being the generous soul that he is, wants to help them succeed and in the process, is bringing his unique vision for the arts to his hometown.

Florida Mining

Florida Mining’s mission?  To present emerging to mid career artists who are thought provoking and fresh with a mix of medium and perspective.  And they were off to a slammin’ start with their first show featuring a new series of work by Northeast Florida photographer Laird, a series infared photographs which begin with organic surroundings and are composited and mirrored so that the resulting image becomes almost hauntingly alien, yet familiar.

CPHACE series by Laird

Florida Mining’s sleek, contemporary space, designed by the brilliant team at Designmind, Larry Wilson and Rebecca Davisson ( both artists in their own right ) is the perfect showcase for making avant-garde work accessible to North Florida.

Florida Mining

Up next for Florida Mining is a new show, Tonya Lee: All Smiles, a new series from the Jacksonville-native, current Philadelphian featuring paintings and wallpaper ( yes, you read that right! ), embracing Lee’s fascination with alternative materials.

Tonya Lee: All Smiles

Tonya Lee: All Smiles opens at Florida Mining this coming Friday, 11/11/11.  If you are anywhere nearby, you will not want to miss it!  Big things are in store for this new venture.  Go and experience it for yourself.

If you’re not in Florida, be sure to check out Florida Mining on their website, Facebook and Twitter.  Always interesting and cheeky fun to be had.

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Hello? This is Art calling.

25 Jul

Do you remember the days when we didn’t carry our phones around with us, but had to actually seek out that communication tool known as a phone booth?  That small, 37″x37″ box where you could look up a number, dial and have a conversation all for just a 25 cents?  OK, a dime if you’re really old experienced.

Seattle photographer Todd Jannausch saw in an old phone booth, not a relic of the past, but the blank walls of a would-be gallery.

Gallery ( 206 ), Occidental Park, Seattle, WA

Gallery ( 206 ) in Seattle’s Occidental Park, contains artwork by over 206 Seattle area artists, 18 artists are represented on the “walls” of the booth by original works on plexiglass.  This littlest gallery is part public art installation, part exposure vehicle for artists not represented in area galleries.  ( 206  is the area code for the Greater Seattle area ).  It provides not just an artwork display but an entire experience for anyone willing to step inside for a more private conversation.

Inside Gallery ( 206 )

Inside, lighting is provided by a solar-powered installation overhead and yes, there is still a telephone inside. If you pick up the receiver, you won’t be able to make a call, but you will be rewarded by the music of Dave Abramson.

When is the last time you actually used a phonebook?

Taking a peek inside the Gallery ( 206 ) “phonebook” and you’ll find more 206-area artists, showing examples of their work and contact information.  Not since the days of Superman has entering & exiting a phone booth been so much fun.

Addendum to the original post!  Thank you to artist Troy Gua for sending me a photo of his ceiling installation in Gallery ( 206 ).  The overcast weather that day ( in Seattle, imagine that! ) didn’t allow me to get a decent shot myself.  So here it be!  Truly cool.  Check out Troy’s website and Facebook page for more of his work.

Troy Gua installation

To find out more information, visit the Gallery ( 206 ) website.  If you’re in the Seattle area, stop by Occidental Park and see it for yourself!

Gallery Hopping PDX-style

30 Jun

PDX is slang for Portland, apparently.  I kept seeing it everywhere in Portland this weekend and being from Florida, of course had no idea what it meant.  Was it some sort of secret code?  Some inside joke only super-hip Portlandians knew about?  Nope, just Portland’s airport code, which has become short for Portland, just like JAX is short for my hometown of Jacksonville.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t some sort of subversive meaning to PDX, at least not one I could find on Google.

After a month in the Northwest, George & I finally made the 2 1/2 hour drive from Aberdeen, WA to Portland last Saturday.  We’ve already hit a couple of smaller artsy destinations nearby ( Olympia, WA & Astoria, OR ), but finally worked our way up to the mac-daddy of them all, Portland.  The home of hip.  We were only in Portland for the day, so decided it would be best to limit ourselves to one section of the city.  So we chose The Pearl District, for its galleries for me and its proximity to Powell’s Books, Stumptown Coffee & Rogue Brewery for George.  I try to make sure that when I drag him gallery-hopping, there is always the promise of beer.  This makes for a much happier husband.

Work by David Slader at Gallery 903

Gallery 903 was filled with contemporary painting, sculpture and mixed-media work.  I can usually tell the minute I walk into a gallery whether or not I’m going to enjoy my visit and find artists to blog about.  As soon as I saw wonderfully textured abstracts and thoughtfully placed sculpture, I knew Gallery 903 was a good stop.  The work of the artist above, David Slader, got George’s attention before than mine.  Slader is a former high-powered attorney turned artist and after reading his tongue-in-cheek artist statement, I had a better appreciation for him.  His work has deep texture , a powerful palette and expression.  Here’s an even better shot of “You Want to Dance”, that gallerist Herschel was nice enough to email me..

You Want to Dance, Oil on canvas, 24x24

This was just the first of the delights to be found at 903.  While George continued to admire the Sladers, I rounded the corner and happily came across a little niche and what was to be found there?  Some thrilling little Salvador Dali prints!

Salvador Dali prints at Gallery 903

Complimenting the Dalis in the same little space were two epoxy-resing pieces by Alan Fulle.  One of my favorite things about working in a gallery was designing & creating tableaus of artwork that coordinate together in unexpected ways.  Virtual congrats to whomever hung the work in this gallery.

Artist: Alan Fulle, Gallery 903

Here are some more treats from 903:

Artist: Chuck Gumpert, Gallery 903

Artist: Natalia Petrova, Gallery 903

Artist: Georgia Gerber, Gallery 903

I absolutely loved this bronze geese sculpture!  George wasn’t quite as enamored.  What’s not to love about lovey-dovey, fat bronze geese?  I mean, really, how could you not love them?!  Oh well, moving on..

Augen Gallery had two interesting exhibitions showing, the first, work by Wendy Franklund Miller– I am a sucker for encaustics.  There is just something about that waxy texture that I adore.

Artist: Wendy Franklund Miller, Augen Gallery

The kind-of cosmic feel to Franklund Miller’s work was a great complement to their other exhibition, Light Drawings by James Minden.

Artist: James Minden, Augen Gallery

These “light drawings” are scratched/etched PETG ( plastic ) reflecting light.  They are totally trippy in the best sense.  We had so much fun looking at these from all different angles.  Check out this slide show to see better photos than I could have taken:  James Minden on Vimeo.

Continuing the equestrian kick I seem to be on lately, Froelick Gallery happened to be showing Equine, a juried group exhibition showcasing the horse.  A diverse showing of work centered around our four-legged friends, it was fun to see the variety of interpretations, including a plate from the famous Muybridge Animal Locomotion series.  George was drawn to the work of Miles Cleveland Goodwin, which while beautifully rendered, was a bit on the dark side for my tastes.  I love how the differences in our tastes spark lively discussion!

Artist: Miles Cleveland Goodwin, Froelick Gallery

I, on the other hand, fell in love with the giant below. White Shadow by Rick Barstow is pastel on paper, 74″ long and it is fabulous.  I’m not sure what I love more, the lovely layering of the pastel, the unfinished, sketchy-quality or the scribbled “HORSES” at the bottom.  It’s all workin’ for me.  Or maybe it is that the straight-on gaze of the horse reminds me of an illustration of a story my grandmother used to read me as a little girl, The Goose Girl.

Artist: Rick Barstow, Froelick Gallery

Our next stop, Bullseye Gallery has a kick-a$$ space.  Two levels, full of exposed brick and metal work, rustic wood and these amazing little installation rooms.  I got so caught up in admiring my surroundings that I failed to take many pictures.  I know, bad little blogger.  The gallery is part of Bullseye Glass Company, maker of colored glass for art & architecture.  Oh, that explains why there was so much incredible art glass!

Artist: Dante Marioni, Bullseye Gallery

Artist: Silvia Levenson, Bullseye Gallery

Our final destination was Butters Gallery.  Are ya’ll tired yet?  Because I sure was by this point in the day. ( We’d also hit the Saturday Market, Stumptown Coffee, Powell’s Books and Rogue, in addition to all the galleries. )  Butters reminded me of some of the Chelsea galleries in NYC, as it was kind of hidden away, on the 2nd floor of a walk-up building.

Butters Gallery

Artist: Susan Hall, Butters Gallery

Butters had some really interesting work on display, I hope to bring you more on those artists very soon, especially the one whose work is pictured above, Susan Hall.  I fell head over heads for her work– my crappy picture doesn’t even begin to do it justice.  I’ll feature her more in depth in a separate post in the next few weeks.

So ends our little jaunt through Portland’s Pearl District galleries.  I can’t wait to go back to PDX and explore the other art districts.  This weekend we’re headed North!

Art in Astoria

14 Jun

Last night, as my hubby was catching up on my blog posts ( he reads them all, even if he has to sit and catch up on a week’s worth at a time, such a good hubby! ), over his shoulder I re-read my In Search Of post from last week and man, what a whiney little whiner!  To save you all from more self-pity-filled posts from me, sweet George took me on a day trip to Astoria, OR on Saturday, in the hopes of helping me feel a bit more connected to the 3-dimensional art world.  You know, the one that doesn’t live inside my laptop.

Astoria, Oregon

Despite the gray day, my spirits were sunny.  Astoria’s main claim to fame is the movie, The Goonies, which was filmed here way back in 1985 ( yes, we made a children of the 80’s pilgrimage to The Goonies House ).  But movie history isn’t the only draw to Astoria.  Its downtown area is super charming, filled with a mix of restaurants, coffee houses, shops and YES, some very interesting and diverse galleries.

Our first stop was Lightbox Photographic, a wonderful little gallery dedicated to the photographic arts.  Their current show, Plastic Fantastic II, features images created using plastic toy cameras.  Absolutely beautiful, emotion-filled images.  Be sure to check out their website to see images created their member photographers.

Inside Lightbox Photographic

Astoria was definitely starting out with a bang!  We continued our walking tour of downtown, stopping for coffee and treats along the way.  Right across from the Astoria Coffeehouse, was Lunar Boy Gallery, whose quirky-look caught my eye.  And LunarBoy definitely brought the quirk.  June 7th was Astoria’s Official Goonies Day, so Lunar Boy was exhibiting a special show of Goonies-related work.  Fun!

This Is Our Time Now! Goonies Show at Lunar Boy

Landscapes by Nicholas Knapton at Lunar Boy

After lots of cool art & laughs at Lunar Boy, we perused a few bookstores & other shops ( it can’t be ALL about me ) before finding RiverSea Gallery.  This contemporary gallery features a wide variety of work by artists from the Northwest and beyond.  I was thrilled to find that their current show, The Fabled Landscape, featured the work of Marla Baggetta.

Artist, Marla Baggetta

Since my days of specifying art for the corporate & healthcare industries, I’ve been a fan of Baggetta, her landscapes bring that perfect combination of happy color and peace, perfect especially for healthcare.   Her work is even more lush and gorgeous in it’s original state than her reproductions even begin to show.  I was in awe.

Artist, Marla Baggetta

Artist, Marla Baggetta

Though seeing Baggetta’s original work was a highlight for me, RiverSea had many other artists whose work caught my eye.  Like…

Maple wood sculpture by Michael Hampel

Encaustics by Paula Blackwell

Figurative work by Shannon Richardson

Wonderful urban landscapes by Brin Levinson

George had his favorites, too– like the work of abstract mixed-media artist, Charles Schweigert ( told you he was loving abstracts now! ) and kooky sculptures by Pamela Mummy.

Namikaze by Charles Schweigert

A Lot on His Mind by Pamela Mummy

Our little day trip to Astoria was just what the art doctor ordered.  I was able to peruse some lovely, unique galleries and found some really interesting artists to share with you.  We even spotted a couple of empty storefronts that would make great galleries.. you know, just in case.

Museum Hopping

7 Jun

Though our time in the cities we visited on our cross-country tour was short, we managed to hit a couple of wonderful, yet very different museums along the way.  In Tulsa, we spent a few hours exploring the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Front facade of the Philbrook Museum of Art

My Jacksonville readers will be familiar with the Cummer Museum of Art in Jax.  The Philbrook is, to me, like the Cummer on steroids.  Like the Cummer, the Philbrook was once a private residence, which was donated to the city of Tulsa by its owners, oilman Waite Phillips and his wife Genevieve.  Once we entered the museum doors, we found ourselves in a gorgeous, domed center hall, light streaming through the oculus in the center of the dome.

Center hall at the Philbrook

Philbrook oculus

Just walking the halls of this Renaissance style villa, built in 1927 and designed by architect Edward Buehler Delk for the Phillips as “a place where there two children could entertain friends” ( Imagine the sleepovers you could have! ), is a pleasure in itself.

Corridor at the Philbrook

The museum houses a varied and extensive permanent collection of art, ranging from African & Asian collections, Native American art to Italian Renaissance and a surprising and delightful modern collection.

Bougereau at the Philbrook, a favorite artist of the Frenz's

Lovely little Picasso at the Philbrook

Fabulous modern design collection at the Philbrook

While the museum collections are enjoyable, it is the museum grounds that really steal the show.  Though we visited on a gray and rainy day, it didn’t stop us from exploring the extensive gardens behind the museum.  The original formal gardens extend from the rear colonnade of the museum down to the tempietto.  Let’s take a little walking tour..

Rear collonade at the Philbrook

View from the colonnade down to the tempietto

Wonderful stepped fountain

Beautiful, naturalistic water feature

No formal garden is complete without a koi pond!

View from the tempietto back toward the museum

Yours truly in the tempietto ( wouldn't this be a romantic spot to pop the question? )

Contemporary sculpture walk beyond the formal gardens

Let’s switch gears now, fast-forward through another 12 hour day on the road and pay a little visit to Denver.  While in the mile-high city, we spent some time downtown including a tour through the Denver Art Museum.  While the Philbrook is classically ornate, the DAM’s Hamilton Building, where we spent our time, is splendidly contemporary.  Designed by Daniel Lubeskind, the structure represents the Rocky Mountain peaks surrounding Denver.

Denver Art Museum

We started at the top and worked our way down, discovering lots of fun & interesting contemporary work along the way.

Noguchi sculpture and Motherwell painting **Sidenote: Motherwell was born in Aberdeen, WA, the town where we are living for the summer.

Ceramics at DAM

Did you notice in the pictures above how the walls are slanted?  The angled walls created a very interesting visual space, especially in the 4th floor gallery where they were prominent.   They were a bit disconcerting when walking down the main stairs, though!

Artist: Mark Tansey

We were all fascinated by the piece above, by Mark Tansey.   Another highlight was the Fox Games installation by Sandy Skoglund.  I first saw Skoglund’s work in Jacksonville and am always fascinated by the environments she creates.

Fox Games by Sandy Skoglund

And there was just something about “Minotaur with Brushstrokes” that appealed to us.  What can I say, we like work that makes us smile.

Minotaur With Brushstrokes by Richard Patterson

Speaking of making us smile, George & I also loved the piece below, although I’m sad to report that I don’t recall the name of the artist.  But it reminded me of spring in the Northwest.

Kicking myself for not writing down the title & artist for this piece! Anyone have any clues?

The museum also boasts an impressive Western American Art Collection, as well as African, American Indian, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial Collections.  We toured through the current special exhibition, Cities of Splendor: A Journey Through Renaissance Italy, but alas, no photography allowed in the exhibit, so you’ll have to check out the DAM website for a taste.  As you can see, our art experiences on this trip were widely varied and we are looking forward to more such experiences here in the Northwest.

Masterworks Monday: Rauschenberg in Tulsa

6 Jun

Hello Artsies!!!  After being out of the blogosphere for the past three weeks or so, I am finally back behind the computer, as it were and it feels great.  I have so much to share that I hardly know where to begin..  As many of you know, my hubby George and I recently moved from Florida to Washington.  We were incredibly blessed to be able to make a vacation out of our cross-country trek, with stops to see friends, new places and old favorites along the way.

Our first stop ( OK, first fun stop.. we spent the first night in a motel outside Little Rock, AR, not super exciting ) was Tulsa, Oklahoma.  George lived in Tulsa for several years and we hadn’t been back since we got married, so decided to take a couple of days to introduce me around to Tulsa friends and places.  It just so happened that the friends we were staying with in Tulsa had a friend who owned a gallery, Exhibit by Abersons at Center 1 Tulsa.  Said friend of friends happened to be having an opening the night of our arrival in Tulsa, so even though there was a whole gang of people expected for dinner, we popped over to the gallery to have a peeksy.

 The exhibit, which opened on May 19th was curated by Master Printer Bill Goldston of Universal Limited Art Editions and follows the progression of Rauschenberg’s print work through the years.  Like any good Art History Major, I recognized Rauschenberg’s work and his importance as a painter & print maker, but beyond that, I admit I didn’t know much.  Rauschenberg came to the forefront toward the end of the Abstract Expressionist movement and toward the beginning of the Pop Art movement.  The prints included in the exhibition lean more toward the Pop end of the spectrum, showing examples of his collaging of photographic images through silk-screen processing showcasing pop culture imagery of the 1950s and 60s, such as Guardian ( 1968 ).

Guardian is compromised of transfer images from Life Magazine, the transfers being done by brushing the images with solvent, placing them on the lithograph stone, then passing the stone through the printing press.  These are works that demand a closer look, there is so much going on, even little details are significant.  George enjoyed scrutinizing the work ( see photo below! ), which are so accessible that they seem just as relevant today as they must have 50 years ago.

The work George is pondering is Bazaar, an intagilio print and lithograph on paper created in 1984.  Other highlights for me included, Aquafix ( below ), a haunting image created by Rauschenberg in 1981.  As the years progressed, his work evolved into cleaner, more simplified compositions as exemplified in Aquafix and Lotus VII, both favorites of mine from the exhibit.

  

Lotus VII ( above ) is part of Rauschenberg’s final series of prints, completed only a month prior to his death.  The Lotus images were created for an exhibition of Rauschenberg’s work in Beijing and are compilations of photographs taken by the artist on two trips to China.  The photographs were transferred to panels, then an intagilio process, photogravure, was used to tie the images together visually.   The results are stunning images, which surely pleased Rauschenberg as his final legacy.

If you are in the Tulsa area, be sure to check out the show at Exhibit by Abersons.  If you can’t get to Tulsa, Rauschenberg’s work can be found in many major museum collections with images, biography and other info available online, check out the websites of MOMA, The Tate, the Guggenheim and many more.

A Girl and Her Chickens

21 Apr

A little girl with brown pigtails makes a trip with her family to Colombia and there, befriends two chickens.  And so begins the story of “What Happened to the Chickens?”, the latest exhibition of Yvonne Lozano’s work at The Art Center in Jacksonville.

Yvonne Lozano’s work is autobiographical, each painting telling the story of a particular childhood memory or even just the memory of the feeling of being a kid.  Upon first glance at her style, you may think “A child could have done that”, which is exactly the point!  Her simple, faceless figures look initially like a child’s creation, but look a little more closely and you will see a layering of glazes and accomplished drawing skills.

Yvonne has created a storyboard format for these works, some finished paintings, some watercolor sketches, so that it seems that you are “reading” a book in progress.  The small sketches reiterate the childlike quality to the work and the “story” itself reads like a wonderful children’s book!  ( I personally think it is only a matter of time until we see Yvonne as a children’s literature author & illustrator! ).

“What Happened to the Chickens?” is a story after all, so I don’t want to give too much away.  If you’re in Jacksonville, please make some time to visit The Art Center gallery downtown to see & “read” this charmingly familiar childhood story.

The Art Center Cooperative gallery space is located at 31 W. Adams Street in downtown Jacksonville, FL.  Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-3pm.

To see more of Yvonne’s work, visit her website, YCLArt and be sure to “fan” her Facebook page!