'Recycled' art show still has many interesting pieces to see

Kathleen Holmes' oil and mixed-media work, "Extremes of Love," can be seen in the "25 Florida Fellowships" exhibition at UF's University Gallery. Kathleen Holmes' oil and mixed-media work, "Extremes of Love," can be seen in the "25 Florida Fellowships" exhibition at UF's University Gallery.

Published: Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 1:04 p.m.

It looks like the University Gallery at UF is reducing its carbon footprint by recycling a two-year-old show. "25 Florida Fellowships," which was curated by University Gallery director Amy Vigilante, has come back for a second round and will be up through Feb. 13. While a rerun may sound unappealing, I found several pieces that make this show worth the stop.

First the overview; the exhibit consists of more than 60 pieces created by the 25 recipients of the 2006 Visual Arts Fellowships for the State of Florida. While the artists are all from Florida, their work has been shown on a national scale. The exhibition includes sculpture, photography, video, painting and much more.

When you first wander into the show, your eye can't help but get captured by Billie Grace Lynn's "Pre-Emptive Peace." The 8-foot-tall peace sign is formed of foam, graphite, paint and plywood. This piece is as subtle as a flying mallet. The external ring is covered in quotes that look like they might have come from a presidential address, and a swept-back-wing fighter jet forms the body of the peace sign. The primarily black, white and silver sculpture is covered in photos of bombsites, soldiers, flag-draped coffins and more.

Mark Kover offers a couple of works from his Female Gape Series. These 3D animated lenticular photographs are fascinating and kind of creepy at the same time. The 6-foot-tall photos are mounted on a convex backing so they project out at you. "Female Gape 7" shows a woman stepping out of a car at night. As you walk past, her mouth opens into a gape that makes her look like a new addition to the evil dead. Her body does not move, just her mouth. It is neat technology but I got a funhouse feel from it. "Female Gape 5," which shows a woman in pajamas sitting on a kitchen chair, comes off a bit less alarming as she goes from a smile to a yawn, but it still had something about it.

Not all is violence or chills; Kathleen Holmes serves up "Extremes of Love," a mixed-media piece that wooed me with its simplicity. On the left third, Holmes has varnished some ornately woven, brown fabric to the frame and placed a cutout metal crow, perched on a branch, in the middle of the fabric. There is something old-fashioned and charming about the arrangement, as if she is tipping her hat to the memory of a grandparent. The other two thirds are comprised of a single, oil-on-canvas painting of storm clouds on a summer afternoon. The soft lighting and mix of dark clouds and pale blue sky seem to portend light, refreshing showers rather than lashing rain.

Robert Flynn has six pieces in graphite and charcoal on paper. "Big Sprink," can't help but reel you in. This drawing of a circular lawn sprinkler is all form and no detail. What makes it pop is the size - nearly 4 feet tall - and negative presentation. The sprinkler is all black on the soft white background. At first I took it for Japanese calligraphy.

What I also found to be a nice touch is the addition of a phone tour, similar to what the Thomas Center has recently been employing. You dial the main phone number, punch in the number for that specific piece, and a voice gives you background on the artist and the work. Warning: the number is long distance.

The public reception for this show is Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. There will also be receptions at the same time for the new, juried ceramics show in the Focus Gallery and a photographic exhibit in the Grinter Gallery.

"Everyday Saints and Sinners," opens on Jan. 30 at the Randy Batista Gallery downtown. The show focuses on the quilts and paintings of Carol Drummond, 3D assemblages by Hannah Price, assemblages and ceramics by Travis Lambert and mosaics by Linda Zidonik. I am not sure what these "assemblages" are all about, mixed media I suspect. I guess we will have to wait to find out. The show is opening in conjunction with ArtWalk, which is on the last Friday of each month.

David Hackett can be reached at davidmhackett@cox.net

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