Here's a look at some of the cooler (and hotter) arts events coming up in the next few months:
Informe. Since Covivant kicked the bucket last year, thoughtfully curated shows of local contemporary artists have been few and far between. (So don't miss this one!) Flight 19 enlists the help of Derek Conrad Murray, a critical theory professor in USF's department of art and art history, who selected 14 Tampa-based artists for Informe. (The exhibit takes its title from a 1997 Centre Pompidou exhibit based on philosopher Georges Bataille's celebration of art that rejects established values and incorporates "low" materials.) Look for Allen Hampton's drawing in pig's blood as well as sculpture, photography, painting and video by Sean Erwin, Noah Doely, Becky Flanders, April Childers, Ivan Reyes, and others. April 28-May 19, Flight 19, Tampa, 813-394-9921.
Mamie Holst: Landscape Before Dying. You needn't know that Holst suffers from chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome to appreciate her efforts as a painter; her hypnotic, black-and-white abstractions would still be brilliant if she were in perfect health. But, given her illness, the abyssal concentric rings that ensnare viewers in an intimate moment of contemplation are all the more poignant. (In 1989, Holst gave up life as an artist in New York to return to her native Ft. Lauderdale.) Since there's something decidedly Zen about the images, it's fitting that Japanese textiles and Ukiyo-e prints are on view concurrently at the Polk. May 26-Aug. 5, Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, 863-688-7743.
Collage In the Expanded Field. Collage serves as a starting point for the artists in this Arts Center showcase, but that's where the similarities end. Nine of them, most from New York, breathe fresh life into the age-old technique that gave birth to Cubism in the 20th century -- from Joel Carreiro, who remixes bits and pieces of Renaissance and Baroque imagery in his own paintings, to John Morton, who calls his wacky photographic collages "Mortographs." Also featuring Hilda Shen, Jackie Shatz, Jillian McDonald, Peter Dudek, Carmen Alvarado, Brian Wood and Thomas Weaver. Don't miss a symposium with six of the artists on June 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 8-Aug. 18, The Arts Center, St. Petersburg, 727-822-7872.
New Editions. The collaborative process between master printmaker Erika Greenberg-Schneider and her artists is Bleu Acier's raison d'etre. A showcase of their latest blood, sweat and tears illustrates the breadth of printmaking and the depth of talent at the studio. Marie Yoho Dorsey's luminous blue mountain landscapes combine hand-sewn figures with direct gravure printing on rice paper. Abstract landscape is the theme in monoprints by USF art professor Elisabeth Condon and Chicago-based Kim Curtis. Also on view: established French artists Herve Di Rosa, Pierre Mabille, Vicky Columbet and Dominique Labauvie. Opens in June (date TBD), Bleu Acier, Tampa, 813-272-9746.
Stereovision. Modern science's replacement of visible reality with abstract truths about the world around us (from atomic structure to gravity) proved once and for all that vision is a function of technology. Stereovision, through a thought-provoking combination of old and new, presents artistic interpretations of perception in flux. Nineteenth-century stereographs (double images that when viewed with a stereoscope create the illusion of three dimensions) mingle with recent experiments in photography, virtual reality and sculpture/installation by Barbara Probst, Chuck Close, William Kentridge, Zilvinas Kempinas, and the collaborative team of James Tunick and Jaanis Garancs, organized by Izabel Galliera, USFCAM's assistant curator. June 15-Aug. 4, USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, 813-974-4133.
ARTLINK Japan 2007. In April, Creative Clay executive director Grace-Anne Alfiero headed to Japan, where she -- along with two other artists, David Williams and Sarah Ellen Smith -- taught arts groups there how to implement one of the St. Pete-based organization's most successful programs. ARTLINK, an annual effort, pairs students with developmental disabilities and mental health issues with professional artists for intensive, one-on-one collaborations that produce amazing results, from painting and ceramics to conceptual pieces. In this exhibit, art created by Japanese teachers and students during Alfiero's visit mingles with work by local Creative Clay teams. June 15-July 31, Florida Craftsmen Gallery, St. Petersburg, 727-821-7391.
Andrew Junge: American Detritus. San Francisco-based Junge knew he was making a monster when he set out to construct a life-sized Hummer H1 from recycled Styrofoam, but he may not have imagined how efficiently the giant truck would set his career in motion. Hot off a laundry list of showings in San Francisco, an appearance at Art Basel Miami Beach and a pit stop at Greene Contemporary in Sarasota, the Styrofoam Hummer gets parked (quite literally) inside the Tampa Museum of Art. July 11-Sept. 16, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, 813-274-8130.
The Big Picture: 2006 Photographer Laureate Steven S. Gregory. Tampa is among only a few cities that boasts a photographer laureate program. The annual city-funded commission supports documentation of our ever-evolving burg while showcasing local artistic talent. (So far, the four laureates have all come from the Bay area, though competition is open to artists regardless of where they are from.) Last year's honor went to Tampa-based Steven S. Gregory, who combines dramatic lighting with Photoshop effects to create vivid, surreal visions of a city at the crossroads of past and future. July 28-Oct. 7, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, 813-274-8130.
Pablo Siebel: Reflexiones Intimas. Mixed-media paintings and sculpture by the Chilean artist suggest a present-day Dubuffet, but the untamed visual style and quasi-mythological iconography are distinctively Siebel's own. Lively compositions combine fantastical beasts and masked figures with a background of abstract swirls and labyrinthine lines. That the words fiesta and allegría often show up in Siebel's titles is a good indicator of the joyous abandon of his work. July 28-Oct. 14, Gulf Coast Museum of Art, Largo, 727-518-6833.
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