April 5, 2012 by Danny Olda
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 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.
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!