Monday, May 28, 2012

Beyond Reality: Hyperrealism and American Culture Vero Beach Museum of Art

Beyond Reality: Hyperrealism and American Culture
Vero Beach Museum of Art

I recently had the pleasure of viewing the Hyperrealism and American Culture exhibit at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.  Hyperrealism is the genre of sculpture and painting that resembles high resolution photography and it was first coined by Gallerist, Ivan Karp and some of his contemporaries around 1970. Hyperrealistic images are typically much larger than the original photographic reference and are often incredibly vibrant in color with sharp precision and detail. Hyperrealism presents a  new reality and has its roots in the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard, "the simulation of something which never existed." With hyperrealism, we  are taken beyond what the human eye can see or what a photograph, with its selective focus,  can provide.

Upon entering the gallery, the familiar impressive figurative sculptures of Marc Sijan are represented. His Seated Gallery Guard II,  a recent purchase for the museum is so incredibly realistic that one expects him to rise from the chair and admonish guests for getting too close to the artwork. His sculptures show his strong grasp of human anatomy and his sophisticated methods give a translucency to his models which go beyond life-like. Other sculptures which are interspersed among the paintings are works by Duane Hanson and John De Andrea. John De Andrea's Tara, a polychromed bronze  of a young woman sitting on a stool with arms folded and a  pensive expression on her face draws the viewer closer to develop their own subjective story line for her sadness.

Paintings represented ran the gamut from John Baeder's 1974 oil on canvas, Pullman (depicting an old Pullman train car) reliving  memories of times past to Susan Sykes, 2010 oil painting entitled Red Cafe no. 2 which is evocative of a contemporary scene of 20 somethings at an outdoor cafe just hanging out and dining in vivid color and detail. Linda Bacon's 2007 painting, Grab Your Pardner, was a 3-D depiction of antique Western themed toys replete with lasso and gun and was a step back in time reminiscent of the Lone Ranger and the Wild West. Richard Estes's painting, Union Square Looking Northeast, 1993 brings the urban landscape into sharp focus.  Diner scenes were represented...A view of Central Park...a painting very evocative of the Dutch Masters. Some of the other noted  artists represented in the show included: Ralph Dudley, Ralph Goings, Kim Mendenhall, David Cone, Idelle Weber. Gallery attendees became time travelers, exploring forgotten territories of the past and fast forwarding into contemporary scenes and themes of our time.

While this particular exhibit is no longer at the Museum, the museum is a gem (with an expansion under way)  and  is a short two hour drive from Orlando. I highly recommend a stop at the museum if you are heading to South Florida or considering a day trip to the beach and need a culture fix. Some upcoming exhibits will include: Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, Landscape Paintings by Adam Strauss and Pop Art: Sources and Context.

Susan Pelteson, photographer, has exhibited at group exhibitions in Orlando and beyond. In her photography, she finds beauty and dramatic elements  in vintage and found objects, in relationships and in the juxtaposition of old vs. contemporary contexts, particularly as they relate to women. Her work explores freedom and constraint and the realm of memories and dreams.Through the multiple lenses and depth of life experiences as a marriage and family counselor and founder/owner of a successful event design/coordination firm, Susan has developed unique perspectives on the human condition which is shared in her art. She has a life long passion for the arts and for the power of  creative processes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Monumental Monochromes at Lake Eustis Museum of Art - Josh Garrick

Josh Garrick- Monumental Monochromes at Lake Eustis Museum of Art

This afternoon, in the historic town center of Eustis, art and history merged in a rare and exciting confluence. Approximately 30 guests attending afternoon high tea at the Lake Eustis Museum of Art, were treated to a passionate presentation by guest artist/scholar, Josh Garrick. The presentation capped the first exhibit under the museum’s new executive director, Richard Colvin.
photograph from the No Stone Unturned series, 2012, ©J. Garrick

“Monumental Monochromes” is a photographic retrospective that encompasses 30 years of images collected as a scholar leading groups of college students through Greece.  Many of these dynamic photographs are printed on aluminum, adding a depth and brilliance to the already dramatic images. Garrick’s passion for Greece and its history is captured these works which have been taken from a perspective rarely made available to Greek nationals, and never to artists from other countries.
©J. Garrick

The extraordinary perspectives were captured from extreme vantage points gained by climbing the tricky edges and precipices of the construction and rebuilding sites of Grecian wonders. Anchoring himself against powerful winds, carrying three cameras, Garrick climbed to the top of the Parthenon and captured both the mystique of the city and its impressive hold on its past.

Garrick’s empassioned historical recap brought into perspective the reconstruction of the Parthenon following the volatile years of Persian/Spartan/Athenian power struggles which ultimately resolved into an age of brilliance for the arts and sciences. Should things have worked out differently, explained Garrick, society as we know it would not exist.

Four of the very large photographs on aluminum have been purchased by independent patrons and donated to four different museums for their permanent collections: the Museum of Florida Art, the Maitland Museum of Art and History, The Lake Eustis Museum of Art, and the Orlando Museum of Art.

©J. Garrick
“Monumental Monochromes” is worth the drive to Eustis,
but don’t wait too long. The exhibit closes May 27th.

Lake Eustis Museum of Art
200 East Orange Avenue
Eustis, FL 32726

by Fern Matthews

Fern Mathews is a mixed media artist recognized for her textural work and use of color. Matthews’ work is included in both public and private art collections throughout the country and The Caribbean, and shows in New York and New Orleans.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Art in Puerto Rico - Roving OAR

Roving Review of Art in Puerto Rico

You, Loiza, though poor and small, are not the least of the towns of Puerto Rico, for out of you shall come artists who enrich the lives and preserve the culture of Puerto Ricans.
So it was as I found both Samuel Lind's studio and Raul Ayala's Workshop, within 100 feet of each other, in Loiza, located about a 45 minute drive east of San Juan.
Samuel Lind has a 3-story colorful house and studio on a side street off PR 187: 
He seeks to maintain the Bomba culture of the area, one that emphasizes a drum and dance music originally from Africa, the home country of the Loiza settlers. This is evident in the next photo below of a current commission work that he is doing in oils, showing the drummer and dancer in bright colors, and the audience in not so bright. 

The drumming is also used in Bombaerobics, either standing or sitting. We were privileged to see an actual dance as well, put on by citizens of Loiza:

 Samuel also does sculptures – these are complicated castings of metal that start with a clay model. The woman shown here thrusts her conch shell outwardly to call to others:

He also does silk screen prints, especially of the Bomba culture and dances. See for example this poster for a Coamo festival of the Bomba:

Samuel Lind can be reached at, and one of his web sites is
Leaving Sam's studio, we went over to Raul Ayala's workshop located at 6.6 km marker on PR 187 (they use kilometers for road distances, even though they measure car speed in miles per hour!) Raul specializes in the Vejigantes masks worn by mischief makers in various festivals:
His fanciful masks are made entirely of coconut, usually half a coconut, although those from the southern town of Ponce are made from paper mache.
Raul can be reached at

by Dana M Schmidt
Dana Schmidt is a retired attorney who has been painting with pastels since 1999. He specializes in birds and water scenes, hence a lot of water birds. See his website at

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mish Mash Bash a Smash

Mish Mash Bash a Smash

by Bethany Myers

"The Mish Mash"

Thursday May 17 through June 18-ish.
City Arts Factory
29 S. Orange Avenue.
Orlando, FL

The Mish Mash artists: Holly Tharp, Chad Pollpeter, Shawn Rinehart, Plinio Marcos Pinto, Rachel Wrenoski, Johanna O'Donnell, Cameron Moore and Chad Kendall.

Energy was in the air at the The Mish Mash group show at City Arts Factory Thursday night. Eight very different artists came together and formed a cohesive combination of visual treats.

The gallery is a long, narrow hallway which isn't very conducive to contemplating the art at a distance. But, that's just me, I guess. And regardless, the place was jam packed with happy artists and patrons. The energy was infectious.

Holly Tharp's landscapes caught my eye immediately. Almost abstract, the paintings draw you in with the vast skies and land. They are ethereal and peaceful. Stunning! As curator, Holly "put together this show with friends (artists) who inspire me...I love all of their work and we all produce such different subject matter." Thus, "Mish Mash".

Untitled by Chad Pollpeter
Chad Pollpeter has a distinct style which I can best describe as muted, lonely alien, planetscapes. Not of this Earth, for sure. He paints with out of this world imagination and smooth technique. Very thought provoking. Chad's solitary figures in desolation can bring you deep into an Arthur C. Clarke novel.

Chad Kendall's works were abstract and mostly monochromatic. To me, there were images within images. For example, I think I saw an eyeball blurred out behind a see-through profiled head with sunglasses, a dotted hair line and a beatnik beanie. I could be spot on, but I doubt it.

Watercolors by Plinio Marcos Pinto
Plinio Pinto is a super talented water colorist. From far away, without my glasses, I thought his paintings were abstract. Especially the center one titled "Slant". I had to push my way through the crowd to see his three paintings up close. I was surprised to see they were landscapes! With or without glasses, I liked them instantly.  They were so sensitive and soothing.

Rachel Wrenoski constructs small, intricate shadow box montage/mixed media. Each one is very different from the other. Some are whimsical but in no way gift store finds. Her work is art! Each one is carefully and professionally put together.  Some of the creative titles are Subconscious Journey, Namaste, (which I wanted to buy but someone beat me to it) and Mod Hitachinos. Rachel surprised me with some great collages made on old reclaimed windows!

"Clear Blue Reason" by Johanna O'Donnell

Johanna O'Donnell is a dynamic painter who does predominantly tight, vibrant, detailed portraits of hybrid people/animals. Men with wolf heads with their arms around untypical beautiful women. Color, color, color! Her paintings are pure fantasy and belong on the cover of Juxtapoz , Pop Surrealism or Hi-Fructose. Just dynamite work!

"Cecil C." by Shawn Rinehart (sorry for the glare)

You may think the objects in Shawn Rinehart's 3D Rendered Still Life's were arranged and photographed. Not so. Each item was computer fabricated and easily tricks the eye. One piece in particular called "Cecil C." (pictured) tells a story of childhood memories of his  Grandfather's treasures. You can't get your head out of his graphic renderings.

Cameron Moore's nude studies showed lots of movement and flow. He is among a group of artists who teach life drawing classes. Hanging all his pieces in a row created a kind of stop animation ballet. Bright colors and crazy poses make them much more than studies. Exciting!

About 75 people were at the show - a terrific turnout for a diverse and talented collective.  If only they could do something about that hallway…

Bethany Myers has been an artist all her life. Her first art show was in her living room at age 5 and was attended by a bunch of her Moms hippie friends.  She has worked as an art teacher, photo journalist and graphic designer.  Bethany is a painter in the dynamic art community of Orlando.

Friday, May 18, 2012

WoodGrain Gallery Grand Opening

Featuring "My Family Album" by Stephanie Wood

Also sharing works from Hellbrand Leather, J Bon Clothing, 3R Customs, Drew Mcguckin & Chris Glen



Walking into the Exchange building after not doing so for years was a little surreal.  It is obviously still trying to shake off the same dust I am. The few spaces utilized were all galleries and only one drew your attention on this night.  How could it not?  Chill hip-hop music was spun from steel wheels inside the WoodGrain Gallery and wound its way out into the central hall where it gently grabbed you by the ear and pulled you closer.  Chatter and laughter came from multitudes of hip, stylish, tattooed, pierced, friendly, fashionably yet comfortably dressed Orlando urbanites, that poured into and spilled out of the gallery.  Obviously this was the place to be tonight.  What was more obvious upon entering was that this gallery is not your mother's gallery.

Hitchcock - By Stephanie Wood
Stephanie Wood wanted to showcase the likenesses and talents of the people in her life she considers her family.  To do that she brought together an eclectic mix of styles and art forms because she sees art as more than just paint on canvas.  On the walls hung digitally altered photography from Chris Glen and Steph's own pop-art.  Iconic personalities, retro movie characters, and figures from her personal life make up her subject matter for this show.  Arranged atop shelves and animal hides, occupying a prime piece of real estate in the Pine Street window, were leather accessories such as shoes, handbags and wallets by Hellbrand Leather which added a scent to the room that you could not mistake.  Hanging in racks were counter culture tee shirts exhibiting the sense of humor and screen printing skills of J Bon Clothing while custom kicks stitched by 3R Customs were kept under glass like the Hope Diamond and secured by the relaxed if not diligent presence of security personnel.  Metal sculptures of various sizes, shapes, themes and even personalities, constructed by Drew Mcguckin, were displayed on tables in multiple locations throughout and continuously grabbed your attention with their forms.

Wavelength - by Drew Mcguckin

So, was this an art gallery, a clothing store, a leather accessories workshop, a studio?  The answer to those questions is YES!  You need to go by and visit during operating hours.  Stephanie is very approachable and does her work from the studio she has there.

WoodGrain Gallery on Pine St.
101 S. Garland Ave.

Orlando, FL 32801
Open to the public : Monday - Thursday; 1pm - 7pm

Art Zombie is hard to define.  He buried his dream to be an artist many years ago and has just recently exhumed it to pursue the art world in central Florida and devour its fleshy offerings.  You can experience his broad insatiable appetite by visiting the M.W.KIMMEL blog or liking his Facebook Page.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Watery Landscapes; Art by Bonnie Sprung - Review by Judith Kaplan




"Can You Find The Fun" by Bonnie Sprung

A quick glance of the large watery trees-scape paintings and I was in the Everglades however the artist explained her inspiration is the St John’s River here in Central Florida.

The colors and execution are not photographic-color Florida-sentimental they are vibrant, yet mysterious – what is going on? My favorite, a tall, narrow, very vivid red-orange painting nonchalantly radiates Florida’s heat. A Florida mid-summer sunset or year round swamp humid heat?

There is a playful dimension the artist offers the viewer: find the hidden words sculpted in the shapes of the trees’ branches, leaves, trunks and other elements. At first they’re elusive but as you has the first one or two “aha” moments the viewer succeeds in locating the motivational words in each painting.

This lighting and arrangement of the exhibition in the Steinway Gallery succeed in bringing the viewer into the St. Johns River environment. I could almost hear the birds and insects as I was transfixed by all of Ms. Sprung’s paintings. Not the heat and humidity - fortunately the gallery is air-conditioned.

Ms Sprung is a very talented artist in most medias including stage-setting, sculpture photography,  however, I believe, this series is a new avenue of expressing her love of Florida and its environs and simultaneously sharing with the viewer what inspires her and motivates her… with puzzles added.

Be sure to see and enjoy Bonnie Sprung’s solo art exhibition - enjoy how excellently she shares her talent as an artist, her vision and her puzzles, her inspiration and best of all this excellent unique artful and delightful Watery Landscapes series.

This exhibit is on view through May 31, 2012..
Admission: Free
Hours: 11 - 4 M- Sat

By Judith Kaplan

Judith Kaplan, artist.  Her award winning large palette knife abstract oil paintings have been exhibited at group and solo art exhibitions in California and Florida. She was Vice President of  the Women's Caucus for Art, Florida 2006 to 2009 and Acting President  2009 to 2011.

Another passion of Ms Kaplan is promoting women's history. To that end, from 1976-1981 she created, produced and marketed an original collectible women's history series consisting of 180 different first day covers picturing and honoring women of achievement in American history. She is a Board Member, since 1997, of National Women's History Museum and Veteran Feminists of America where she is also a Vice President-History.