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BIG ARTS galleries open season with exhibits that celebrate unexpected

October 12, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Two visual arts shows will open on Oct. 17 at the BIG ARTS galleries on Sanibel.

Visitors can experience two distinct realities through the conceptual art of "The Sense of Things" and the plein air art of "Passion for Pastels" in the Phillips Gallery and Founders Gallery, respectively.

"The Sense of Things" features three Southwest Florida artists - Del Holt, Guy Tieman and Dale Weber - in an exhibit that explores their art, as well as each individual's creative process.

Article Photos

PHOTO PROVIDED
“Wave and Rock,” by Suzanne G Bennett

"Passion for Pastels" features Suzanne G. Bennett and Michele Barron Buelow with unusual approaches to plein air painting.

Holt paints creatures and scenarios that refer to the world in whimsical and thought-provoking ways. In conceiving the group show, BIG ARTS's visual arts committee started with Holt's work, then brought two other whimsical conceptual artists into the show fold.

"Holt's animals in humanesque environments are surreal in terms of the thought process," programs coordinator Lauren Huff said. "It's different from most of what we see on the island."

For example, Holt's website gathers his work into online galleries. In the "Nudes" category, the first work that a visitor sees is a reclining orangutan viewed from its head and arms in the foreground with just a hint of the rest of its body in view. It is not at all scintillating; the joke is on the viewer, whose concept of "nude" is thereby challenged.

In Holt's paintings, primates are common, and they often appear in scenes with a moon or other circular objects that make them appear to have halos. Two wear Victorian-style dresses with their hair in ringlets.

His work can be found in the collections of Jane Goodall and Malcolm Forbes.

"As we age, we tend to lose our ability to explore, express and take risks," artist Guy Tieman asserts on his website.

"As a child growing up on the East Coast, I loved creating art. In my 20s and 30s, I focused on printmaking and photography (BFA), and on glass art (MFA). Living in the Midwest, I was William Carlson's artist assistant. And I was a glass artist with pieces in several galleries. By my 40s, with two young sons in tow, I moved to Southwest Florida, got a 'real job,' and focused on raising my kids.

"Now, in my 50s, with my sons in high school, I've begun creating art for myself again. I've avoided the intricacies and labor of glass art and focused on print and drawing and wood and paint - art that allows me to experience the true satisfaction of artistic expression," he states.

Tieman's "Scribbles & Bits" pieces depict birds and abstract geometrics, some with robotic associations. "Of Tinkertoys and Crayons" pieces become wood and paint figures with colorful dowels.

Dale Weber is all about second chances. He creates assemblages from found objects.

"I find cast-offs along railroad tracks, at construction dumps, flea markets, thrift shops; wherever they lay," his online artist's statement says. "I believe all matter, inanimate as well animate, is destined to lead many lives and serve many purposes. With encouragement the discarded can re-invent itself on a different level."

If there is a moral to his work, he says, it is this:

"Everything deserves a second look, a second chance. Perhaps together we will begin to see our surroundings with new eyes. Awareness is the first step of change."

Although "Passion for Pastels" focuses on the outside world more realistically, both artists involved "toe the line of abstract art," Huff said. "Both push the boundaries of plein air, conveying motion and emotion" in what is normally a fairly static genre.

Bennett, inspired by her surroundings, focuses on the twisting lines of the local foliage, large swatches of color from landscapes, and huge colorful domes of sunsets.

Buelow focuses on portraying the scene in front of her, the movement, the incredible variety of hue and shape that nature displays. Locally, she is a member of the San-Cap Art League and teaches pastel at BIG ARTS.

Simultaneous opening receptions are planned for Oct. 19 at 5:30 p.m.

Complimentary wine and hor'dourves will be provided.

Both shows are on display through Nov. 25.

For information, visit online at www.BIGARTS.org or call 239-395-0900.

The Phillips and Founders galleries are at 900 Dunlop Road.

 
 

 

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