New art convergences in Tampa

First Friday Seminole Heights catches up with St. Pete’s collaborative art fervor as two Tampa shows try to stay ahead of the game.

Posted by Megan Voeller on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 9:49 AM

CHEEKY: Anthony Record’s “Anne Frank Wannabe” is one of several mischievously in Similar Scars.
  • CHEEKY: Anthony Record’s “Anne Frank Wannabe” is one of several mischievously in Similar Scars.

A Tampa counterpart to St. Petersburg’s popular Second Saturday Gallery Walk emerges this week with First Fridays Seminole Heights. Five art spaces are banding together for the 6-10 p.m. gallery crawl: Epoxy (1202 E. Henry Ave.), QUAID and Tempus Projects (4636 N. Florida Ave.), Workspace (4501 N. Florida Ave.) and The Hatchway Gallery at Florida Avenue Ales (4101 N. Florida Ave.).

Anthony Record, an artist who has also founded the cooperative gallery QUIAD and Tampa Drawers Sketch Gang over the past year, is behind the event. Most of the spaces involved are typically open only one or two nights per month, so the evening promises a unique opportunity to tour Seminole Heights’ growing gallery scene in one fell swoop. Work by a range of emerging talents will be on view — from Damian K. Wildfong’s peace sign canvases at Florida Avenue Ales to videos by Gigi Lage and Daniela Mora in a group exhibition at Tempus. Record, a USF grad who teaches at HCC Ybor, has a solo exhibition of confidently made abstract paintings at QUAID.

Similar Scars, which is the title of the show, reveals Record to be an artist who does one thing and does it well. Working in acrylic on canvas, collages of cutout shapes, and ink drawings (also reproduced in a ‘zine), he stakes out his territory within the world of biomorphic abstraction, where bendy organic shapes float, nestle and occasionally interpenetrate. His palette is subdued: minerally blues, greens and pinks, with an occasional intrusion from brown or yellow, in the painted canvases; white-on-white for the canvases collaged with cutout bits and blobs reminiscent of cellular biology.

At their most interesting, Record’s clusters of shapes function like Rorschach blots, inviting a musing fascination as one contemplates a painting that suggests a landscape of noses and rubbery arms, or turning pages of his minimalist ’zine, Accurate Food. In the latter, page upon page of hand drawn blobs in skinny black line are redolent of something — the faintly perverted fleshiness of soft shapes, the obsessive head space of doodling — if what, exactly, remains ambiguous. His titles present a mischievous array of associations, from “Cafe Chauvet” (after the famed cave of prehistoric paintings, I presume) to “Anne Frank Wannabe” and “Janet Reno.”

My problem with work like Record’s — confident and clever almost to the point of shtick — is that it doesn’t look like much is at stake. Where’s the magnificent failure? There are a few flashes of brilliance in the paintings of Similar Scars — a lemon-colored highlight toward the bottom of “Cafe Chauvet” is one — but I don’t see Record reaching beyond his comfort zone, so to speak. There’s too much rinse-and-repeat and not enough complexity in Scars.
Still, I’d go back to see the exhibition again, maybe even on First Friday. 
GLOWING REVUE: Alex Trimino’s “Luminous.”
  • GLOWING REVUE: Alex Trimino’s “Luminous.”

At HCC Ybor this week, Colombia-born, Miami-based artist Alex Trimino has been installing her distinctive light-and-fiber sculptures, which are made of florescent and neon lights, plastic and plexiglas tubing, knitted and crocheted yarn, natural fibers and found objects. Strung together in sculptural lines that dangle from the gallery ceiling or balance on the floor, the sculptures suggest illuminated, three-dimensional drawings, Trimino says.
Since HCC Ybor is hosting her exhibition, which opens Thursday, in conjunction with Women’s History Month, it seems apropos to mention that the sculptures fuse an historically masculine medium — the florescent tubes synonymous with Dan Flavin — with handmade fiber pieces evocative of women’s domestic crafts.

The combination of opposites is purposeful, Trimino says. As a young artist, she was interested mostly in the technological side of art, making interactive sculptures activated by micro-controllers, until she realized that traditional handicrafts could be a powerful way to visualize mathematics.

“The best way to explain hyperbolic geometry is crocheting,” Trimino says.

Without illustrating math, per se, her sculptures combine seemingly disparate elements into elaborate circuits, which make a lovely kind of sense through artful plays on texture, balance and flow.

Trimino will discuss her work during a gallery talk at the exhibition’s opening reception. 

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